Writing Tips2023-03-31T23:00:20+13:00

Breaking the mould – yes or no?

While we like to think that one of the great things about getting creative is that there are no rules to follow, you don’t have to delve far into creative writing courses and guidebooks to discover that there are, indeed, several ‘rules’ that you ought to stick to when [...]

Writing: good, bad and brilliant

We’ve all read one: a book so badly written that it made us want to fling it across the room rather than put up with reading another chapter. (Some of us will have struggled through to the end, while some of us might actually have flung it across the [...]

Has your story stalled? Three solutions to revitalize your writing!

We’ve all experienced that horrible feeling of getting stuck. We had a perfectly good story idea, maybe we even got started writing it, but now we’re unable to make any progress. Maybe you call it ‘writer’s block’, maybe you’d describe it as feeling ‘lost’ as to where your story [...]

Two (counter intuitive) secrets of writing good dialogue

Good dialogue should be easy to write, right? After all, we all have a lot of real-life experience to draw on for inspiration. We spend a lot of our time having conversations with our friends, family and colleagues, and we’re constantly hearing fragments of other people’s conversations in cafes, [...]

Six Core Marketing Methods for Authors

A solid marketing strategy is crucial to maximize your author career and to gain long-term income from your writing. Your individual goals and circumstances will determine the mix of marketing methods that best suit you. The six most common methods that authors use to market their books are listed [...]

Why don’t my villain’s “redeeming characteristics” work?

...and how do I genuinely make my villain more human? If the villain of your story insists on demanding huge ransoms while cackling demonically and perhaps even stroking a pet cat, it’s time to do some serious editing! And your villain doesn’t need to be exaggerated to need editing [...]

How to be a productive writer this year – our top three tips

New year, new blank page. Have you made a new year’s resolution to write more, to get started on that novel, or something along those lines? Whether you’re one to make resolutions or one to just be generally determined to become a more productive writer in 2022, we’ve got [...]

Help – my character is misbehaving!

Oh, the horror of that moment, when you know exactly what should be happening next in your story, but it’s clear that your character has other ideas. Some of us like to keep a tight rein on our characters and stay in control of the plot at all times, [...]

How to win at NaNoWriMo

It’s November – National Novel Writing Month! If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo, it’s a challenge where you attempt to write the first 50,000 words of a novel between the 1st and 30th of November. That averages out at 1,667 words a day, which, though challenging, is an achievable [...]

Help – my character is boring!

Three tips for transforming a character from dreary to intriguing Have you ever had a character just sit there on the page – not literally, of course, but figuratively – simply refusing to do anything exciting? One of the (many, many) challenging aspects of being a writer is that [...]

Why are adjectives so terrible? (And what to use instead)

It’s advice that writers hear time and time again – kill your adjectives. But why? What have adjectives ever done to us that they don’t deserve a place in our stories? Of course there is a place for a select few adjectives in stories, but all too often adjectives [...]

Why ten words a day is a good writing goal

I was talking to a writer recently who had set themselves the goal of writing ten words a day in 2021. That might seem like an odd goal to have (“Ten words is a sentence or two! It adds up to about one chapter a year! Why not be [...]

How to Successfully Write Your First Novel

All that time, all that effort, all that blood, sweat and tears. Make sure it’s not wasted. A few simple changes can transform your first novel writing experience from failure to success.

What’s really stopping you from completing your novel?

(And what to do about it.) There is no two ways about it: writing a novel is a mammoth task that, if you decide to undertake it, is going to consume a significant amount of your waking hours (unless you’re John Boyne). Even so, persistence should eventually bring you [...]

Interviews with Auckland writers: Veronica

Tell us a little bit about yourself I was born in Auckland, but have grown up in South East Asia and Germany. After finishing high school in Germany I decided to study Hotel Management in the Republic of Ireland. I returned to Auckland about 7 years ago. After a [...]

Getting the most out of critique

Sharing your writing with others and asking for their feedback is daunting at the best of times, but if you want to improve your skills as a writer, it is hands down one of the most useful things you’ll ever do. Receiving a critique of your work, even when [...]

Interviews with Auckland writers: Paul

Tell us a little bit about yourself My background is in education, and I’ve been a historian for twenty-odd years. I have lived in Auckland for almost a year now, but I’ve been in New Zealand for four years. When I started writing, I started with speculative fiction and [...]

Six secrets to writing a great story

Want to write a page-turner of a story that your readers just can't put down? Wondering how to go about it? Here are our top tips for writing a great story! 1. Focus on your character when you develop your story Characters often stay with readers far longer than [...]

Interviews with Auckland writers: Joy

Tell us a little bit about yourself I live in west Auckland with my grown-up (mostly!) son and my ginger-and-white feline overlord, Fang. I currently wear my hair in a Mohawk cut (‘cos why not?) and for my fiftieth birthday, I decided to have my eyebrow pierced. I am [...]

Interviews with Auckland writers: Alexei

Tell us a little bit about yourself Generally I don’t like to talk about myself all that much! I have been a dweller of the Auckland suburbs my entire life. Writing, however, is something I haven’t been doing my entire life. I think my first attempts at writing (outside [...]

Quick fix: How to get out of a writing slump

Sometimes, sitting down and producing a thousand quality words feels easy, enjoyable and almost automatic. Other times, the days can either drag by with you staring at an unforgiving screen of white, or you can notice that a month has flown and you haven't sat down to write once. What can we do when motivation and inspiration walk out the door? Here are four tips to get you writing again:

Make the Reader Cry: The Dangers of Naming Emotions in Writing

Naming the emotion, instead of expressing it using one of the techniques outlined below, is a sure way to distance your reader from your characters. There is more than one type/cause/experience of every emotion. Naming the emotion destroys any nuance, leaving a bland, generic taste in the reader’s mouth.

Five types of writer’s block – and how to beat them

Writer’s block can strike in many different forms, and there’s no one straightforward solution that’s going to get you through it every time. Recognising which type of writer’s block you’re experiencing will help you find the right tools to break through it. Here we list five common types of writer’s block, and our favourite tried-and-tested answers to overcoming them.

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