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BA Hons creative writing


Tips for writing good dialogue

For both prose writers and scriptwriters, the question of how to write good dialogue is an important one. Can we listen in on conversations by strangers, and get an ear for the natural ebb and flow of speech? Is it better to study films which are heavy in conversation? Or are novels a good place to see the everyday use of dialogue?

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The Short Story: Part 2

I think the short story is quite a brutal form for the writer to operate in. As human beings we deplore cognitive dissonance and we want to see all loose ends tied up, especially if we have invested time in reading a piece of work. But writers I know take a different view of the short story…

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The Short Story: Part 1

I was recently asked to judge a short story competition for a group of writers in York. Before handing out the prizes I was asked to say a little about ‘what made a short story.’ It was a question that got me thinking, and I thought I would set down my thoughts on the subject for this blog.

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On taking advice

‘Bad writers often believe they have very little left to learn’. And this, for me, sums it up. As soon as we start to dig in our heels and claim that no one can tell us anything useful, or that everyone else just doesn’t get what we’re trying to say (yet somehow, one day, a publisher will) then we’re in dangerous territory.

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Show your workings

I was delighted to hear, on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, that the British Library is to make available online its archive of contemporary writers. It means any one of us, regardless of geography, has the privilege of peering into the workings of a writer’s mind.

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What kind of writer are you?

Some writers are planners and know how each story, poem, script will start and end before they begin writing. Other writers are explorers and have an idea, a situation, a character, a place they want to write about but have little inkling of where the writing is going until they are in the middle of it when they might find they are actually still at the beginning or just as likely at the end.

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A day at the Hay

A day in the sun at Hay…it’s one of the selling points of the Hay Festival – photos on the website are focused on people under sun umbrellas reading their latest purchase and drinking cool lager. This is a risky ploy for a Welsh summer event, but it paid off for the OCA posse that arrived at the festival grounds on bank holiday Saturday. We’d come for the culture, of course we had. We’d come for the literature, naturally, for the heightened conversation we’d enjoy with each other after sharing events. But the fact the sun was out certainly helped.

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