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


Basing characters on real people

f a character stays too close to someone you know, you’re always thinking, so-and-so wouldn’t do/say/ think that. The character must always serve the story, rather than the other way round.

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Howlers

As well as being a large New World monkey, a werewolf in full cry, or an unpleasant letter in a red envelope sent to someone at Hogwarts, the other definition of howler is a stupid mistake or ludicrous blunder.

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Holiday reading habits

Airports stock a lot of books for holiday reading, and if you’re aiming at a popular market in it’s a good idea to take a good hard look at what’s on sale. Crime and romance come top, but these days they all have strap-lines that sound exactly the same.

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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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