A complete novel writing course here on HTWB – for nothing

I was scrolling through the series of 30 novel writing tutorials we published here on HTWB a while ago and thought how difficult it was to find them in order, so I have listed them all here for you to use. It will make it a lot easier for you to go through the course in the correct order. As always, there’s no charge.

writing fiction on HTWB
It’s an excellent course written by novelist and publisher Lucy McCarragher, who re-edited and eventually turned it into a book [Read more…]

What to write when someone’s child has died

I will never, never forgive myself for once writing an email to a couple whose premature baby died just a few hours after he was born. In it I wrote, “never mind, you’re young. You can have another one.”  Stupid, ignorant, idiotic cow that I was.

what to write when a child dies

“We need your support, patience, understanding, love and friendship…” Dawn Allen, bereaved parent

At the time, I hadn’t become a parent. And unless you are a parent, it’s hard to understand just what agony the loss of a baby can cause – whether via a miscarriage (even an early one), via an actual birth, and of course later on through childhood and beyond.

It was only once I had a child of my own that it dawned on me what a vile, thoughtless and cruel thing that was to say. Here’s what I have learned that may stop you making similar mistakes… [Read more…]

If you spam in English, FFS learn how to write it first

Do you spit fur and feathers when you get a spam-mail that insults your website’s performance … in bad, incorrect English? I do. I know I should just hit the delete key but these people’s conceited belligerence brings out the Taurean beast in me, as well as my writer’s indignancy at their often ridiculous use of our crazy language.

If you spam in English, FFS learn how to write it first

Do yourselves a favour: hire a native English language copywriter to rewrite your mailshots so at least some English speakers might take you seriously.

Jenny finds my website “very perspective” and it could soon disappear from search

Our Jenny Jones works for a company called Semalt.com, based in the Ukraine (or maybe Russia.) Here’s how she thought she could bully me into submission, notwithstanding the fact that her English is laughable… [Read more…]

What writing help would be the most useful for you?

We all have to write whether we like it or not. I happen to love it to bits, but I know many of you don’t so need some help. Many of you do, but need some help to get it rolling.

What writing help would be the most useful for you?

How can we help you with your writing? Just say!

So, I want to start a monthly newsletter to make you folks more comfortable with whatever you want or need to write. No bullsh*t, nice and concise.

It will share tips from my vast range of utterly hysterical experience in writing everything from books to funny jokes on toilet rolls (seriously), plus that of many other writing experts from all over the world.

Now, never mind what I think we should share. What do YOU want some help with? For example:

[Read more…]

Who the hell writes about whoever-self?

When someone responds to “how are you today” with “good thanks, and yourself?” … it makes my grammar fascist nerve-endings jangle.

“Yourself” here seems lumpy and affected. Why not just “good thanks, and you?” Or even “good thanks, and how are you?”

Who the hell writes about whoever-self?

(Or if we’re going to be truly picky here, it should be “I’m well, thanks. How are you?”)

Anyway to find out why it makes my innate grammar fascist want to spit fur and feathers, I did a little “proper research” to find out just when it is and isn’t comfortable to use that cranky “self” suffix. [Read more…]

How to write a good short story – in simple terms for beginners

What does it take to make a brilliant short story? A lot depends on your taste in writing, and/or the taste in reading of your audience if it is already established. And there are many types of short story – almost as many different types as there are genres in full-length books.

How to write a good short story, in simple but effective terns

However as you would expect, a short story is rather different from a full length book, and different from an essay, too.

Writing a short story is like taking a snapshot

Whether you’re writing about something that actually has happened to you – or, you’re making up a fictional story – you have little time for anything but the key points.

It’s hard to know just how much description to include (where the story takes place, what the characters do and look like, the time of year, etc.) And you have no time for any “back story” to introduce readers to the action.

Write a skeleton plan

[Read more…]

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