Is the first sentence the charm?

Just as I was thinking about first lines, along came this…

Take Five Authors

We’ve all been told that we have only a couple of pages to hook a reader. I think that’s wrong. I think the hook comes in the first page. The first paragraph. The first sentence.

Last weekend, I was at a workshop devoted to the first 100 words of a novel. That’s right – 100 WORDS.

I think that first paragraph can hook a reader not just into one book – but into an author’s storytelling and writing style. One sentence can turn a first time reader into a lifelong fan. It has happened to this reader – more than once.

I remember my first encounter with the great Mary Stewart. I was about thirteen and dreaming of escaping small town Australia to have adventures in the big wide world.

How outdated the cover seems now - the writing dates too, but it's good enough to overcome that. How outdated the cover seems now – the writing dates too, but it’s good enough to overcome that.

I opened…

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BETWEEN FRIENDS by Jenny Harper #WomensFiction @BrookCottageBks @harper_jenny #TuesdayBookBlog

Thanks to Rosie Amber for hosting me on her blog!

Rosie Amber

Between FriendsBetween Friends by Jenny Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Between Friends is a contemporary Women’s fiction read set in Edinburgh. Three friends; Marta, Jane and Carrie have been friends for a long time. When an old flame comes to Edinburgh for the arts festival their friendship is tested to the limits.

Jane is married to Jake, he’s currently unemployed, she’d like a baby. Carrie is a career women and likes to be in control of her relationships. Jane is married to Neal and has three children and a busy chaotic life, yet all this is turned upside down when Marta invites Tom to a surprise dinner and offers him a place to stay.

Tom is Jane’s ex and he’s Carrie’s ex and he’s about to cause a rift for Marta too. Old wounds are opened, new wounds are made and Tom believes he can carry on as he…

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Fear. Has it halted your writing dreams?

Loved this post on the fear of writing…

Take Five Authors


So what is stopping you from being an author?  Or, if you’re one already, what offers your greatest obstacles?  No, it’s not Time.  If your passion calls loudly enough, you can always squeeze hours from the day, no matter the siren call of Facebook or the demands of work and family.  The problem is another voice is calling louder:  it’s Fear.

Oh my, the terrors of creativity!  Where to start?  There’s that inner critic that says you’ll never be good enough, that it’s crazy suicide to stick out your head, only to have it shot away.  It sneers at your aspirations, mocks your dreams.Wim_van_den_Heuvel_en_Yoka_Berretty_(1961) (1)  What if you write total crap?  What if you have no talent? Or for some the reverse might paralyze. What if you become successful beyond your wildest dreams? Will your friends still love you? Will you be able to handle the heat?

At twenty-one, working…

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What goes into running a writing course?

Sue Moorcroft tells us just how much work goes into running a writing course! Phew! I’m exhausted already… 🙂

Take Five Authors

I’ve never been sure why people ask me to run writing courses, as I don’t have a teaching qualification. It began when I was telling someone about writing short stories for magazines. The then-chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association overheard and asked if I’d say it all again in front of an RNA meeting.

Love Writing final version-1 smallerThen I was asked to repeat it a couple of times at other events.

Then someone rang and asked whether I’d be prepared to run a residential course … it has snowballed from there, and I’ve run workshops and courses for libraries, writing groups, conferences, local education and universities, I’ve run residential courses in the UK, Italy and France, and if you look at my events page you’ll see that I have a few lined up. I’ve also written courses and taught them for the London School of Journalism, I’ve written a ‘how to’ book, Love…

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Does rejection make you depressed or determined?

Don’t be downcast! Rejections can be a great spur to success.

Take Five Authors

Like most authors, I’ve had my share of rejection slips. I suppose I’m lucky in that most of mine were what is rather sweetly termed ‘rave rejections’. In other words, they generally took the line of ‘We love your writing, but in the current marketplace … risk of signing a debut novelist …overcrowded women’s fiction market …’ and so on.

I take a little consolation in knowing that ‘twas ever thus. The list of writers who were serially rejected is huge. Gone With the Wind was rejected 38 times. (It has sold 30 million copies.)

Agatha_Christie Agatha Christie, via Wikimedia Commons

Agatha Christie had to wait years before she was accepted for publication – now she is the biggest selling author of all time, excepting William Shakespeare. JK Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers (who must be bitterly regretting their decisions now). I can go on – Stephenie Meyer (Twilight

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