Showing Tag: "writing" (Show all posts)

Readers, if you were to write a novel...

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, December 20, 2016,
The saying goes that we all have a novel in us. As we prepare to take down 2016 submissions and start all over again in 2017, I can't help but wonder what we will see next year.
Personally, I have a good imagination and always think I could write a novel. I see something unusual - a woman crying on a park bench, a family cold with each other at a restaurant table - and I think, 'Oh, that's the beginning of a novel.' But, of course, a novel takes so much more than that - a plot that lasts longe...
Continue reading ...
 

Writers, 8 questions for your characters

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, November 8, 2016,
Readers love characters - they are our connection with the plot, what makes us reopen the pages, what makes us care.
I sometimes hear writers say, "Well, she's a middle-aged woman with an empty nest and feeling lonely." Okay, that tells us her current circumstance but it does not tell us who she is. And who she is depends upon her past and how she now looks at her past. Has she changed? How has she changed? Have those around her changed? (Think Shirley Valentine). And before you decide to ins...
Continue reading ...
 

In the beginning, make us care

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, January 25, 2016,
A huge amount is written about first line - and rightly so! However the first bite to a novel is the first chapter. Draw us in with an acute scene of real drama and we'll be with you for the rest of the novel. Sharp writing and crisp characterisation will make us hang on till the very end.
However, great opening chapters are rare - it's tough to lead the reader into 80,000 words, opening the door to unknown characters, setting and conflict, creating a single scene that wraps together enough na...
Continue reading ...
 

Third Time Lucky - Helen MacKinven, guest blog

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, July 8, 2015,

In October, my debut novel will be published. Some folk have assumed it’s the first book I’ve written when in fact it’s my third.

My first novel, Sunbirds, was inspired by a Caribbean cruise I went on with friends from work in 2004. I’m sure I’d cringe reading it now as it was a ‘practice’ novel.  I knew I needed professional guidance so in 2009 I went on an Arvon residential course called ‘Starting to Write a Novel’.

The experience kick-started my second novel, Buy, Buy Baby...


Continue reading ...
 

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 ‘in the mood.’ 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...
Continue reading ...
 

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...
Continue reading ...
 

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...
Continue reading ...
 

To MA or Not To MA?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, April 7, 2015,

Guest blog by Vicky Delderfield. Her novel Effects and Belongings will be out later this year.

I remember the precise moment, driving out to lunch with my in-laws, when I first floated the idea of doing an MA in Creative Writing. Yes, I told them, it would involve quitting my job as a Marketing Manager, relying on Mark’s, my husband’s income, and making sacrifices as we saved up the hefty tuition fees. Er, no, I admitted, the MA was no guarantee of publication. But it was a sign of my seri...


Continue reading ...
 

Hookline's times - they are a'changing

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, October 9, 2014,

Publishing is evolving. When Hookline began, we were on the front line of changes. Lately we have felt as though we are standing still. We love the Hookline process of letting readers find manuscripts worthy of publication. However, it is time to speed up the process – over the years, we have lost out as good writers were snapped up by other publishing houses during our lengthy ten-month, two-stage selection process.

The first thing is to assure you all that book groups will remain an inte...


Continue reading ...
 

When is 'The End' not 'The End'? Five tips on polishing your manuscript

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, March 11, 2014,

The scene is quite clichéd. A writer hits a paragraph break, types ‘The End’ and lets out a huge sigh.

However finishing a novel is never like this. ‘The End’ doesn’t happen until the editor says it happens. Prior to this point, an editor will highlight issues – plot discrepancies, dialogue that could be improved upon or even recommend a structural change. I compare this to the polishing of a very rough table top – it might look beautiful at a distance, but run your fingers ac...


Continue reading ...
 

When is 'The End' not 'The End'?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, February 21, 2014,
Just because you type 'The End' doesn't mean the work is finished.
Find out what else might need to be done by visiting my guest blog at The Chipping Norton Literary Festival page:

http://www.chiplitfest.com/blog/meet-one-of-our-sponsors-hookline-books/



Continue reading ...
 

Hookline - bringing together new writers and good readers

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, January 29, 2013,
Many years ago, a new writer sent their manuscript to a publisher, and they would hear a 'yes', 'no' or 'maybe'.
Today, new writers send their manuscripts to publishers, and they are likely receive a postcard telling them to get an agent. Many agents now act like editors, helping their writers through rewrites. In turn, publishers turn to agents they trust - and agents stick to writers who have earned their royalties, or are writing in a fashion that is likely to earn good royalties (hence the...
Continue reading ...
 

Hookline Novel Competition short list 2012

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, June 7, 2012,
Our reading groups have voted and we have our short list of authors for this year:

Ainscow and the Children of Fire by Paul Beatty of Manchester Metropolitan University

The Net by Andrea Case-Rogers of Manchester Metropolitan University

Charlotte by Andrew Chesney of Anglia Ruskin University

The Ivy Stone by AJ Morgan of University of Wales

Caelica’s Bridge by Victoria Owens of Bath Spa University  


An interesting point to note is that three of the five are men - so far Hookline has publi...
Continue reading ...
 

Rules in art are to be broken - except...

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, May 23, 2012,
I hate it when writers slip a dream sequence into a novel. I know they are trying to show the characters inner fears, desires, etc, but it is boring, and my eyes skip those paragraphs so fast that I almost reach the last page. I actually grow bored listening to friends describe their dreams - sorry, friends, I do try not to let my eyes glaze over.
So it is probably one rule that, according to me, should never be broken.
But this is subjective - other readers may like this skip into fantasy.
Anot...
Continue reading ...
 

Book groups

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, February 23, 2012,
Our 2012 manuscripts are going out to reading groups - always exciting as we pack, but daunting as we arrive at the Post Office and have to unload 30 boxes and queue for service. Those behind us fire daggers at the packages, but what can we do?
Reading groups - I hope you enjoy your work, and we look forward to hearing your results.
Continue reading ...
 
 

About Me


Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

Would you like to receive our monthly newsletter?

Email:

Tags

Categories