Monday, 6 December 2010

Top tip - Topic sentences

I subscribe to quite a lot of writing newsletters, competition updates and writing blogs, and one of my favourites is Flash Fiction Chronicles on the Every Day Fiction website.

Earlier this week I had an update from the site with some writing tips from John Arthur Miller. One of the tips he gives is about how to construct paragraphs. It's one of those tips that when you hear it you think "oh yeah, of course!", and then go back and check your own writing to make sure you're doing it!

Here's the tip:
Top every paragraph with a topic sentence. The topic sentence should explain what happens in the paragraph. Don’t make the reader guess. Everything beneath the opening topic sentence should HANG from the topic sentence. Don’t describe a room first; have your character look around the room or enter the room. This adds clarity of thought, purpose and action of the paragraph. It’s grade school, but too many times have I purchased anthologies or novels in which the author doesn’t know how to use topic sentences for the reader’s benefit.
The rest of the article is here, and I really recommend reading through it.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Tips from Children's Author Catherine Cooper

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed children's author Catherine Cooper about her novel The Golden Acorn: The Adventures of Jack Brenin. She started off as a self-published author selling 1,500 copies in a year - a tremendous achievement for any self-published author. But then she entered the Brit Writers' Award and her publishing fortunes changed.

Here are the two halves of the interview: A Self-Publishing Success Story: Award Winner Catherine Cooper and Realising a Writing Dream: Children's Author Catherine Cooper

I don't know about you, but after reading a success story like that, I'm feeling inspired!