Liz Newman, Author at The Open College of the Arts | Page 2 of 3
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Liz Newman


Using magic

The main problem with using magic (with a few literary exceptions) is that it has to have rules, otherwise every problem can be solved with no effort.

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Using inanimate objects as characters

Have a look around you. What could you animate? A coffee cup that hates tea? A printer that has a mind its own? A camera that takes pictures when no one’s looking? There are endless possibilities…

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Writing characters with disabilities

If you’re going to write disabled characters, try putting one arm in a sling or wearing an eye-mask or ear plugs all day. Remember everything. And then feel thankful that your disability was only temporary.

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Books you read over and over again

The stories that draw me back time and time again tend to be the ones that immerse me in their world, and it needs to be a world that’s very different to the one in which I live. Which books do you read more than once, and why?

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Writing in the first person – there are pitfalls

It’s got to be the easiest way to start writing, hasn’t it? Most people have kept a diary at one time or another, and most of us have written letters. Writing from the ‘I’ point of view looks like a doddle compared with handling a number of different characters, because you’re viewing the action from inside one head instead of many. But this approach brings its own problems.

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When a promising setting doesn’t provide inspiration

The book that really captured my imagination as a child was The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It mentions black spaces on maps – imagine! There actually was a time when the word Unexplored was commonplace, and Conan Doyle’s book was the adventure story of my dreams. I did think the premise extremely unlikely – a sheer-sided plateau, isolated, unexplored, full of prehistoric creatures? And then I went to Venezuela.

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Writing erotic fiction. Part 2

In my last post I explained how finding a subject that has nothing to do with sex can turn what has become a necessary scene for your book into something original and engaging. The same applies to your characters – not everyone is youthful and nubile and devastatingly attractive.

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Do your romantic scenes stop at the bedroom door? Part 1

Do you cringe at the thought of going any further? Nearly all of us are built to the same body plan, and those bodies react in very similar ways. Maybe you’re worried that your family will be appalled at what you write. Ever heard of a pseudonym? I have to admit that it was my agent who suggested I have a go, as she’d been approached about providing stories for an erotic anthology – now long out of print.

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The art of parody

Parody is enormous fun. It’s a very good way of finding out about other writers’ styles, although you have to choose someone with a distinctive voice. I think the greatest gains are to be had writing poetic parodies. You discover new verse forms, new ways of looking at things, new ways to use images, alliteration, metaphors

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Facing up to what you really don’t want to try

For decades I was terrified of poetry. It all seemed so incredibly technical and difficult. I didn’t see the point; I wanted to tell a story. So when I did my MA I made myself face up to this and do the poetry module, even though the scriptwriting one beckoned as I’d already had five radio plays broadcast. What’s the point of doing a course if you don’t learn something new? I struggled. It hurt. I came to realise that this was something I had to actively learn.

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