Hookline Books

About Me

Yvonne Barlow I love books, love reading - who doesn't? I also love to hear what other people think of books - we may agree or disagree, however I love the exchange of ideas. Tell me your thoughts, read our books and tell me what you think.

Showing Tag: " writing" (Show all posts)

Writing dialogue - advice from a fiction editor

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, September 5, 2022,


It’s good to reveal your characters motive through their own speech – tells us their priorities and what drives them. For instance, the reader can learn why they are doing what they are doing, what they really care about (money, love), etc.

Speech also gives us a sense of the immediate emotion – perhaps fear or that they have moved on to a decision: ‘I’ve pulled myself together and will state this straight.’

Dialogue can speed up a scene/action: ‘This isn’t working...

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What I've learned as a fiction editor - opening lines

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, August 22, 2022,

The beginning

Authors need to set a strong scene in the opening sentence. Debut authors don’t have the luxury of beginning with a long and languorous description, such as a backstory, memory or reflections.

Your opening page needs to give the reader a sense of where, when and what is going on.

And you need to create some sense of dilemma.

Grab the reader as fast as you can and hold onto them.

Place your character in a specific setting (the reader needs to picture them).

Add something...

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What I've learned as a fiction editor - more about plotting

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, August 8, 2022,


The sub-plot is dependent on the main plot, although it may not seem so at the time – it might provide twists, shows us how the main character reacts in other settings, provides depth to the story.

They often involve minor characters.

They move the story along toward an apt ending and help the reader get to know the characters better.

Very few novels can survive on one plot alone. Only two come to mind:

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal - a boy is put into foster care but miss...

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What I’ve learned as a fiction editor - and how this might help you write a novel

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, August 1, 2022, In : writing 

The truth is there is no simple answer, no easy template, no cookie cutter plan to follow. I wish there were. Instead, every novel charts its own course, heads in its own ship through mostly unknown waters. Often writers are surprised where they end up. ‘I thought I was writing about love,’ they say, after the romantic lead dies. ‘I wanted it to be a happy story.’ But where do you take happiness? Does happy ever after make a good story?
With this in mind I’ve decided to blog on what...

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Listen and learn

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, January 24, 2022,

I love audio books. However, I didn’t start out liking them. In the early days of listening to an 80,000+ plot, my mind would wander to other stories or events before eventually coming back to the novel and I would wonder what had happened while I’d been mentally absent.

However, a few years ago I found my eyes were often tired at the end of the work day, and I started listening to short Podcasts, then moved onto abridged novels on BBC Sounds. Lying on the sofa, eyes closed and listenin...

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A small pebble on a rocky landscape

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, October 18, 2021,

Many manuscripts reach me but few grab my attention so completely as Mission by Paul Forrester-O’Neill. This story, set in the United States, begins with a small boy who overhears his mother tell his father a horrendous lie. The plot follows the boy to adulthood as he tries to make amends to his father.

A boy and his father are separated by an unforgivable lie. Twenty years later they meet, and the dying father tells John of the men who cheated him and the town of Mission that spurned him...

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