Browsing Archive: June, 2015

It's not about the garden

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, June 24, 2015,
Why did you choose your house?
Perhaps it was schools, family or transport links that helped make the decision. For me, it was the book shop! I live around the corner from a very good book shop - and that's not an accident!
The joy of a good book shop within walking distance can never be overlooked - estate agents should include this in their home specifications. - like good schools or west-facing garden.
I love my local book shop. Over that last five years, the staff have learned my taste in fi...
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What I learned from my MA in creative writing

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, June 15, 2015,
From Victoria Owens, author of Drawn to Perfection
Discipline:
Like any other art, writing requires regular practise. The course framework, with its submission deadlines and workshop expectations, ensured that I wrote whether or not I was ā€˜in the mood.ā€™ Over the MA year, I got used to putting words on the page when I was sick, miserable, hung-over or guilty about neglecting my family. Much of what I produced under these conditions was rubbish, but at least it was something to work on, and t...
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What did an MA in writing do for you? Part 2

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, June 12, 2015,
There have been a few comments on my previous blog 'What did an MA in writing do for you?' And I hope to post some of the responses next week.
In the meantime, I've had a few more thoughts. Mainly, they concern dismal plot devices that I might have forgiven before I earned my MA, now they can prompt me to toss the book aside.
1. Dreams - a boring way to provide a character's fears or hopes. I did this in my dissertation MA and shouldn't be surprised that it didn't make publication.
2. Telling us...
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What did your MA in writing do for you?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, June 9, 2015,
Once upon a time, I was a journalist. My prose consisted of static attribution - he said, she said. I studied for an MA in writing to loosen my style - and, for the most part, it worked. Now I try to come at each sentence from a differing angle, varying sentence length and structure - no more 'just the attribution of facts.'
My MA dissertation had to be a complete novel 'worthy of publication.' Until this point my maximum written piece had been around 5,000 words (an advance obit on Mother The...
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The joy of a first line

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, June 4, 2015,
There is nothing like a first line to draw you into a book.

My favourite:
"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person." Haven't we all had that feeling? And don't we want to know more? This is from Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups.

I also love Tolstoy's Anna Karenina: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

The joy of a good first line is that it pulls you into story - a bad first line, however, makes you ...
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Writers, be brave!

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, June 2, 2015,
"Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it kills your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings."
Stephen King.

A dramatic quote from someone who really knows how to tell a story.
Many manuscripts land in our in box and, sometimes, I want to send the writer this quote from Stephen King. We know that writers grow close to the characters they create, and their instinct is to protect their creation. But...the characters are there to make the reader's heart race with anticip...
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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