Friday, 26 October 2018

Jericho Writers

With advice on how to win a writing competition, advice on planning a NaNoWriMo novel and more, here are the latest Jericho Writers newsletters:


 

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How to plan a NaNoWriMo novel

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is nearly here, which means thousands of writers all over the world are busy prepping and planning for an intense month of writing 1,667 words a day. So let’s get stuck in the deep end – how do you plan a novel?








EVENT: How to Write a Novel Day – London – 27 Oct (Sale now on)
Final tickets remaining! Grab your place on this intensive day at Regent’s College London, covering everything from plotting, to characterisation. Not one to miss.

Spotlight


 

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FEATURE: How to perfect your plot (FREE for members)
Filmed live with editor Jeremy Sheldon, this masterclass explains how to plot a climax that rings true to character, in any genre.

BLOG: One way to plan a novel
The brilliant C M Taylor delves into the three stages of turning an idea into a workable plan. Some brilliant tips here.

SNAPSHOT: The importance of tension (FREE for members)
Literary agent, Laura Williams, explains why you should be concentrating on building tension in your novel, right from the word, ‘go’.




Content corner: 3 things you need to complete NaNoWriMo

I wrote 50,000 words of a novel for NaNoWriMo in 2011 and it was hard. It’s difficult enough to squeeze 200 words out of our average day, let alone 1,667 during flu season. So make it easier for yourself by preparing the following now:
  • A basic plot plan. I say basic, because your sleep-deprived brain is almost certainly going to wander from it – and that’s okay. It’s still easier to start with a solid idea of where you are going with your story; what the themes are; and what your characters want.
  • Detailed character profiles. What you do need to know in detail are your main characters. That way, when your characters do wander off and do something off-plan, it will hopefully be because it fits in with their goals. Plot should always come from character, so letting your characters work though the story in their own way is sometimes the best way to find your story.
  • A world wall. This could be the desktop of your laptop or the wall above your desk, but it helps to have visual clues to your world and characters for when you hit a block. Try doing an image-search for your main character and setting – or even draw a world-map, if that helps. You’ll thank yourself later!
Best of luck to any of you doing NaNoWriMo. Remember – the goal is just to write words. They don’t have to be good. But spending that much intense time with your characters is a great way to get to know what they really want to be doing (even if you’re not sure you agree!)
Sarah J




Cartoon - Plotting Problems


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Follow us on Instagram for more of our 'The Life of a Writer' cartoon series by our very talented Stephanie!





As always, happy writing and remember, you can contact Stephanie on +44 (0) 345 459 9560* or info@jerichowriters.com for any writing-related advice.
Best wishes,

Sarah Juckes
Author | Jericho Writers
*or if you're in the US, give us a call toll free on 1-800 454 2134





Plus – don’t miss:

Slushpile LIVE – Children's and YA Special – 20 November (FREE for members)
Just opened for booking. Submit your work for live review by top Children’s and YA agent, Penny Holroyde. Exclusive for members.
The Getting Published Day – London – 17 November (Discounts available for members)
This event has one aim – to get you published. Attend workshops from editors, agents and publishers focusing on how to get your book out there, the right way. Booking now.
How to write a novel tutored course (Discounts available for members)
Start date 29 October. Fancy a more structured approach to writing a novel, alongside a top tutor and literary agent? Grab a last-minute place on this unique course.
Manuscript assessment (Discounts available for members)
Our most popular editorial service – and for good reason. Get expert, detailed feedback on your novel in its entirety and learn what you need to do to fix it. If we love it, we’ll even help it get an agent, for free.




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Jericho Writers
Belsyre Court
57 Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 345 459 9560



 

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Re-thinking what traditional publishing means

The Jericho Writers team motto is; “don’t do something just because that is how it has always been done”. Traditional publishing is notoriously a bit rubbish at following this advice. This newsletter looks at some ways people are innovating what it means to traditionally publish, and how that opens up even more opportunities for writers like you.








EVENT: How to Write a Novel Day – London – 27 Oct. 25% OFF. LIMITED TIME DISCOUNT
Join us, editors and literary agents for a day getting to grips with how to write a novel, the right way. Perfect for anyone writing a first draft, or even those wanting to tidy up their tenth!

Spotlight


 

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FEATURE: Interview with crowdfunding publisher, Unbound (FREE for members)
Unbound have taken the publishing world by storm with their innovative use of crowdfunding to create and sell books. We catch up with Head of Publishing, Mathew Clayton, to find out what this means for writers.

BLOG: Why more diversity is needed in publishing
Diversity in publishing has been a hot topic in the industry for some time. Publishing was, and is, a very white, middle-class, metropolitan industry. Here’s Mahsuda Snaith to tell us more.

SNAPSHOT: How to kill your agent (FREE for members)
Not all author-agent relationships pan out. In this snapshot, Harry Bingham discusses how and why you should end an unproductive relationship with your agent (without having to murder anyone).




Content corner: What would your ideal publishing model look like?

There’s been a lot in the news in the last few years about authors not being happy with their publisher due to royalty rates, large discounting and lack of marketing/promotion.
The standard author royalty rate for a traditionally published book is now around 10% of the net receipt, so you can probably see why authors dislike huge discounting. And when it comes to marketing, the publisher will always put the majority of its resources behind its lead titles – titles which are usually by established or celebrity authors. All of this makes it difficult to earn a living solely by writing books.
So – is traditional publishing the right way to sell your book? If you are a business person, you may say that self-publishing is the better way to go, where royalty rates are more like 70% and you have more control over discounting and promotion.
But what if there was another way, where you can utilize a team of experts to back your book, and reap the benefits? Is there a way for a publisher to turn a decent profit, as well as a mid-list author? What would the ideal publishing model look like, if you had your say?
Sarah J




Cartoon - Plotting Problems


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Follow us on Instagram for more of our 'The Life of a Writer' cartoon series by our very talented Stephanie!





As always, happy writing and remember, you can contact Stephanie or Nikki on +44 (0) 345 459 9560* or info@jerichowriters.com for any writing-related advice.
Best wishes,

Sarah Juckes
Author | Jericho Writers
*or if you're in the US, give us a call toll free on 1-800 454 2134





Plus – don’t miss:

Slushpile LIVE with The Bent Agency17 Oct (FREE for members)
Submit your work to be read out by literary agents LIVE in our next webinar. This time, we’re joined again by Sarah Manning and Nicola Barr from The Bent Agency. Register now.
Narrative Non-Fiction tutored course (Discounts available for members)
Start date 29 October. Join the team at Galley Beggar Press for an expert guide to writing narrative non-fiction, direct from a publisher. This unique six-week course is now open for bookings.
Manuscript assessment (Discounts available for members)
Our most popular editorial service – and for good reason. Get expert, detailed feedback on your novel in its entirety and learn what you need to do to fix it. If we love it, we’ll even help it get an agent, for free.




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Jericho Writers
Belsyre Court
57 Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 345 459 9560





 

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How to turn a first draft into a published book

I don’t know about yours, but my first drafts are awful. When reading them back through and trying not to set fire to my laptop, it’s difficult to imagine them ever turning into published books. But some of them do. This newsletter focuses on some brand-new content that explains how.








EVENT: How to Write a Novel Day – London – 27 Oct. (Limited time offer available)
Get 25% off your ticket for a limited time only! With top editors, book doctors and authors on hand, this is an unmissable event for anyone writing a novel. Open to everyone.

Spotlight


 

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FEATURE: An interview with author Claire Evans (FREE for members)
In our latest Feature film, Claire Evans talks candidly about writing, confidence and her journey to publishing ‘The Fourteenth Letter’.

BLOG: How all was not actually lost at the Festival of Writing, by Sophie Beal
Jericho Writers member, Sophie Beal, reveals her rollercoaster of a weekend at this year’s 2018. I’m sure there will be a lot of people relating to this one!

ORION UNCUT: Acquisition (FREE for members)
In this un-cut version of our epic behind-the-scenes interview with one of the largest publishers in the world, we chat to Publisher Harriet Bourton to find out the process of a publisher buying a debut book.




Content corner: Why you should never label a draft ‘final’

It took me four years to write what would become my debut novel (not counting the three that died in a drawer that came before it). And in that time, I amassed a LOT of documents with a LOT of file names. Here are just a few of them:
PoTo-new.doc
THE-PROOF-OF-THE-OUTSIDE-FINAL.doc
PotO-FINAL-FINAL-2.doc
And then, when I’d finally drawn a line under my draft and decided it was ready to send to competitions, I got an agent (yay!) ...Who gave me some further edits to make:
The-Proof-of-the-outside-post-SS-edit.doc
The-Proof-of-the-outside-by-sarah-ann-juckes.doc
So that was it, right? Wrong. I then got a publisher, and amassed a further ten edits:
The-proof-of-the-outside-PRH-edit-2
TheProofoftheOutside_SAJ_01
2ND_PASS_OUTSIDE
By this time, not only was my story almost unrecognizable from the file I’d previously called ‘final’, but it had a different title, too.
So, make your draft the best it can possibly be – but don’t think of it as finished just yet. Believe me, the real work is yet to come (and I promise you – it's worth it).
Sarah J




Cartoon - Plotting Problems


image

Follow us on Instagram for more of our 'The Life of a Writer' cartoon series by our very talented Stephanie!





As always, happy writing and remember, you can contact Stephanie on +44 (0)345 459 9560* or info@jerichowriters.com for any writing-related advice.
Best wishes,

Sarah Juckes
Author | Jericho Writers
*or if you're in the US, give us a call toll free on 1-800 454 2134





Plus – don’t miss:

Slushpile LIVE with The Bent Agency17 Oct (FREE for members)
Submit your work to be read out by literary agents LIVE in our next webinar. This time, we’re joined again by Sarah Manning and Nicola Barr from The Bent Agency. Register now.
How to write a novel tutored course (Discounts available for members)
Enrolling now for 29 October 2018. Extend your learning with our professional How to Write a novel course, with an expert tutor and a literary agent.
Manuscript assessment (Discounts available for members)
Nothing compares to what an editor can do for your writing. Get detailed feedback on your entire book from a top editor.




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Jericho Writers
Belsyre Court
57 Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 345 459 9560

 
 

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How to self-edit your work without going crazy


 

A really common problem faced by late-stage writers is this:
I know third-party editing is really helpful, but it’s also expensive, and I’m just not sure whether it’s the right thing for me just now.
You can add to that a whole bundle of other thoughts and feelings, along the following lines:
I’m going round in circles with this.
I know the manuscript isn’t right, but I’m doing a ton of work and getting nowhere.
I know there’s something good going on here, because I’m getting great comments from agents / beta-readers / my writing group, but no agent has yet wanted to take me on.
I love this manuscript but at times I wonder if it’s got any future at all.




And so on.
And I guess the very first thing to say about this is — welcome to Planet Writer. I know a ton of pro authors, some of whom have had very successful careers indeed, where they face thoughts like this with pretty much every book they write. Those guys of course have agents and editors to talk to, so their angst takes a slightly different form, but the underlying concerns are very much the same. It’s all just part of the writer’s life.
So: what’s to be done? The purpose of this email is to give you a kind of Angst-Reduction Plan … and a method for organising your self-editing work in a way that’s simple, reliable and genuinely practical.
This email has a secondary purpose too, because it is, in effect, a list of all all the steps to take before you decide to pay for third-party editorial advice. (And yes, we have a really great editorial service – available here. That service gets consistently great results, but the aim of this email is to give you ways to avoid getting editorial help … or at the very least to make sure you get maximum value from the editorial process once you’re ready to commit. My marketing people will probably kill me for writing this email, but hey, we all gotta die sometime.)
Sounds good? OK, so here’s your action plan.
First, be clear about your goals.
That sounds so stupid and obvious, but it can be incredibly clarifying. Actually write down what you want. For example:
“I want to get this book published by a Big 5 publisher.”
“I want this book to be the first in a successful, self-published SF series.”
Don’t be embarrassed to think big. The purpose of this exercise is total honesty. If you want a six-figure advance from a massive publisher, then say so. Don’t pretend to be all cutsie and modest. No one has to look at these goals apart from you. It’s just a question of being blunt and honest with yourself.
Next, be clear about your fears or obstacles.
This typically will be a longer and messier list. Yours might look something like this:
“I don’t get enough writing time in the week.”
“I’m embarrassed to commit to something that may never happen.”
“I hate my ending and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“I didn’t study English and I’m worried about my grammar.”
Or whatever else. There may be really stupid fears on that list, and that’s OK. We all have some really stupid fears at times. Write them down.
And the act of writing matters a lot. You don’t get clarity on what those anxieties are until you actually make a list. Writing is thinking – and you’re a writer.
Divide your challenges into three buckets
Some of your problems just are tangible in-the-world type issues, and they need tangible in-the-world type solutions.
So you don’t get enough writing time? That’s a real issue. You just need to make a plan that works. “I’ll find at least two hours a day at the weekend, and find at least two hours elsewhere in the week.” Your answer will probably be imperfect, because life is imperfect, but at least you have a sort of plan. Those tangible problems / tangible solutions go into Bucket 1.
The next bucket – Bucket 2 – is just “existential angst that I get because I’m a writer.” If it’s vague and existential and not especially connected with problems-in-the-world or problems-in-the-manuscript, then it goes into Bucket 2.
My solution for those issues?
I don’t have one. There isn’t one. Welcome to Planet Writer. I never said this game was meant to be easy.
Bucket 3 is where you drop all the issues that are manuscript related. Problems with your ending, your characters, your ideas, your prose. Big things, small things. Just write them all down. The more comprehensive your list, the better. Take a day or two to do this. You won’t get it done in a session.
Organise your editing into layers
I’m not going to tell you how to do that in this email. We’ve already created a great tool to help with that. It’s the Self-Editing Pyramid and it’s incredibly helpful.
The big idea here is to organise your editing process into layers, working from large-scale structural issues down to sentence-level micro issues. That means that you don’t find yourself wallpapering walls … only to knock the damn wall down in your next stage of manuscript renovation.
The Pyramid Technique is eye-opening, free, and you can get it here:
Work your way through the edits
Just move through those editing layers, one by one. Don’t feel you have to write the perfect manuscript. Just try to get the best manuscript you can. Make your honest best efforts at each stage, but once you’ve completed a stage: move on. Don’t rethink it. Momentum is (nearly always) more important than achieving perfection.
Set yourself goals and timelines and keep going. Just work your way through the edits.
(Oh, and if it’s taking a long time? Don’t beat yourself up about it. The editing process can easily take as long as the writing process. If it takes longer, that’s absolutely fine. It’s probably a good sign, in fact.)
(Oh, and if your manuscript still seems a bit rubbish when you’re halfway through the process, don’t worry. It’s surprising how late in the day a manuscript can really come into focus. I remember doing a ton of work on my This Thing of Darkness, and really worrying that the manuscript just felt baggy and mediocre. Then – and this was the very final stage of my own editing process – I worked through the text, cut 8,000 words and got really precise about my timelines, places and all the rest. The bagginess just disappeared. The whole story felt sharp and alive. I now love that book – and so do readers.)
Next week
When I started this email I was hoping to cover the whole subject in a single email. But you know what? I’m over a thousand words in, and there’s a lot more that I need to tell you.
So I’ll shut up now and pick things up again next Friday.
It’s chucking it down with rain right now. I’ve got friends coming for lunch. I’ve got a cold coming on. And I’d rather be writing a book.
Oh, well. Life first, writing second. Tis always the way.
See you soon,
Harry

PS: Feel like answering this email? Then hit reply and tell me what’s on your mind. I can’t answer everything, but I do dang well try!
PPS: Jericho Members will save themselves an insane amount of self-editing hell by ploughing through our How To Write course. That course is amazing. It’s altered careers and re-energised writers. It’s completely free to JW Members. What more do I need to say? Maybe that Jericho Members are happier, brighter, and better-looking than the rest of writerkind. FACT. Membership info here.
PPPS: If you’re right in the middle of the writing process, then boogie on over to our How To Write day in London at the end of this month. Think of it like a little autumnal gift to yourself: like a knitted scarf, only better. Info here.
PPPPS: Writing for kids? Then write with Brian. He’s been prize shortlisted about a million times for the biggest kids’ prizes in the world. And he’s great. And you can hook up with him here.






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Jericho Writers
Belsyre Court
57 Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 345 459 9560

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It’s the simplest technique in fiction (and it always works)


 

Folks,
A short email this week, because:
(A) I am on holiday! And I never go on holiday! And I am not actually meant to be working! And there is actual sunshine outside my actual window!
(B) The technique I’m going to talk about is so damn obvious and so damn easy that when we get it, you get it. No complicated explanations required.
As with the last several emails, this one arose from a conversation I had with a writer at York. She’s just come out of her one-to-ones and asked her how she’s got on. “OK,” she said, “but both agents told me they lacked engagement with the main character. They just didn’t care enough about her struggles.”
Now, to be clear, the main reason for lack of engagement is NEVER that the character isn’t nice, or cuddy, or lovable. Plenty of superb main characters are none of those things.
The primary reason for lack of engagement is simply this: you didn’t get the reader sufficiently into your character’s head, so the reader never quite made the emotional leap from real world to fictional world. There are lots of clever solutions to that problem, notably:
  • Improving the inner worldliness of your main character
  • Improving the way you make the character specific rather than generic (so lots of specific memories, ways of talking, ways of observing etc)
  • Improving your sense of place (because the more real your world is, the more real its characters will seem to be)
  • And so on.
Now, I may talk about some of those things in a future email, but for now I just want to talk about the easiest, simplest, and most enjoyable technique for increasing reader engagement.
It’s very easy to do and it always works. It’s simply this:
Make your main character really, really care.
I don’t know what your character’s specific goal is, but make it important to your character.
There’s a whole mirror-neuron thing about fiction which means that if your main character is eating an orange, then it’s kinda like your reader is eating an orange. Likewise, if your main character is in a place of danger, then so is your reader. But also: if your main character really, really cares about X, then your reader will too.
That’s the technique. It’s incredibly simple and incredibly powerful.
My work happens to be a great example, both of the problem and of the solution.
The problem is quite simple that I write crime fiction. My stories, typically, open with a murder and a police investigation grinding into gear. My main character is a detective and the investigation of serious crime is her day job. Likewise, my readers typically read plenty of crime fiction, so a little bit of murder is hardly unusual in their reading lives.
That could all add up to some rather drab fiction. “What’s this? Oh, sure, another corpse. Well, we had one last week, and one the week before, and dealing with corpses is what we do, so it’s pretty much same-old, same-old. Anyone see anything good on TV last night?”
But what if – despite the environment, despite the relentlessness, despite the darkness – your character really, really LOVED murder investigations? Just loved them. Wasn’t fully alive if she didn’t have the smell of the chase in her nostrils?
You can already feel how that excitement could pass itself on to the reader. How the detective’s joy in crime solving could mirror-neuron itself over to the reader too.
And the technique is so easy to deliver. You write passages like the following. (This chunk, edited a bit for length, comes at the end of the first chapter of The Deepest Grave, the most recent book in my Fiona Griffiths crime series. Fiona’s colleague, Jon, has just built a dinosaur out of office stationery and Fiona – characteristically – has demolished it for no particular reason.)




And that’s how we are—me, Jon, the bones of the fallen—when Dennis Jackson comes in.
Dennis Jackson, my boss. The detective chief inspector who presides over our happy breed, this little world. A world that is, theoretically, devoted to the investigation and prosecution of major crime, except that the good citizens of Cardiff are too tame, too meek, too unimaginatively law-abiding to generate much crime worthy of the ‘major’ dignity. [HB note: see how she rejects ordinary crimes. She wants murder!]
[…]
Jackson fingers the wodge of paper on my desk. On the topmost sheet, there’s a figure scrawled in blue biro, big fat digits thickened out by a lot of cross-hatching and multiple outlines. The figure is 453. On the sheet beneath, there’s a similar figure, but in black biro, that says, ‘452’. And so on, all the way back to one that reads ‘19 December, 2014, Rhydwyn Lloyd, RIP.’ Four hundred and fifty three days since my last proper corpse. [HB note: ditto! She counts the days between ‘proper’ crimes. Who does that? As reader, you can already feel your mirror neurons starting to fire away here.]
Jackson says, ‘You’re still doing this? You had an attempted murder in Llanrumney just four weeks ago. Gary Whateverhisnameis.’
I shake my head at that. How does anyone think that ‘attempted murder’ counts the same as actual murder? They shouldn’t even call it ‘attempted’: that’s just a way to flatter failure. The crime is as close as you can get to the opposite of murder. And not just that, but bloody Gary Whateverhisnameis was stupid enough and drunk enough to pull a knife on someone in a pub where there were about twenty-five witnesses, and the entire investigation comprised little more than sitting Gary the Moron down in an interview room, telling him to make a full statement and then listening to his tedious, self-justifying repetitions as he confessed to the whole damn thing. […]
Jackson takes a bit of paper from the stack by the printer and fiddles around in my pen-holder mug, one that I was given by the office secret Santa in December. On one side the mug says ‘grammar police’ and on the other, ‘warning. I am silently correcting your grammar.’ When I was given the mug, it came with black insulating tape over the word ‘silently’.
Jackson finds a biro and scribbles till the ink flows.
Then he takes my 453 page and throws it away. On a fresh sheet, he writes:
16 March, 2016
Gaynor Charteris
RIP
Places that where my 453 one previously lay.
I say, ‘Gaynor Charteris. What, a coroner’s inquest thing?’
That’s not good English—my own internal grammar copper is already stripping down and refitting that sentence—but Jackson knows what I mean. I mean that any unexplained death needs to be examined by a coroner and plenty of those deaths require some form of police involvement, however sketchy. I don’t count those things, however, and Jackson knows it. [HB note: She still wants a proper crime. That desire burns all through this passage.]
Jackson says, ‘Yes, there will need to be a coroner’s inquest, of course.’
‘OK, let me guess. Some granny slipped on the stairs and we need to confirm there were no suspicious circumstances.’ [HB note: This is Fiona preparing herself for bad news. She doesn’t want the granny-slipping-on-stairs scenario.]
‘Well, I don’t yet know much about the incident, but I understand that, yes, there were some circumstances that do possibly seem suspicious.’
My face moves. An involuntary thing. I don’t know what it says, what it signifies.
I just about manage to speak, though, and what I find myself saying is, ‘Suspicious circumstances, sir? I mean, what? An open window, something missing, that kind of thing?’ [HB note: same again. Her heart’s desire is to find a case with a ‘proper’ murder. That desire is so strong it’s actually hard for her to speak normally.]
‘Well, I don’t know about the windows. That part hasn’t been reported to me. But the uniformed officer currently attending the scene did say that this woman appears to have been beheaded. I daresay there’ll need to be some further forensic work needed before we can be certain, but it appears that the weapon of choice was an antique broadsword. It’s obviously early days, but I’m going to stick my neck out and say that no, Gaynor Charteris probably did not slip on any stairs. And I’d appreciate it, please, if—Jon, Fiona—the pair of you could act like a pair of grown-up, professional detectives and get your arses over to the scene without fucking anything up or making me want to strangle you.’
He hasn’t even finished his speech, before I have my jacket on, bag over my shoulder, keys in my hand.




And off we go.
Yes, this is just another crime novel, launching yet another investigation, into yet another murder. But because the intensity of Fiona’s longing is so strong, the reader is hooked into something similar themselves. So we go charging off to the scene of the crime already strongly feeling that this investigation is the most important thing in our lives right now. How lucky we are! Someone has been murdered! And the murder-method sounds gloriously interesting!
Unbelievably simple. And it always works. Yes: you need to avoid overdoing it. Yes: you need to stay consistent with your character. Yes: you need to write fluently enough that you draw the reader in rather than push them away.
But still. Simple. Powerful. And it always works.
That’s all from me. I’m off to NOT DO ANY WORK. You guys have a happy time making your characters care.
Take a look in the PSes at all the fab stuff coming up soon. It’s all glorious. It’s even better than murder.
Harry

PS: Yeah, I just noticed too. That wasn’t a short email, was it? Oh well.
PPS: Our upcoming autumn schedule is way the best we’ve ever had. Go sink your teeth into the following. Things will book out, so get your place sooner rather than later.
  • How To Write a Novel – EVENT – 27 October | Central London Sort out your technique to get your novel on a proper footing. And learn the basics of how to get the darn thing published when you’re done. Details here. 25% for a limited time only!
  • How To Write a Novel – Online course – 29 October | An excellent platform for those serious about writing a novel – or getting one finished. Details here.
  • Writing for Children – Online Course – 29 October | Brian Keaney has been multiply shortlisted for some of the biggest prizes in kids writing. His course is awesome. What else do you need to know? Details here.
  • Picture books – Online course – 29 October | Learn how to write picture books in the company of the brilliant (and bestselling) Pippa Goodhart. Details here.
  • Creative non-fiction – Online Course – 29 October | Learn all about the art of business of creative non-fiction with the duo behind Galley Beggar Press … and plenty of very commercial non-fiction besides. Details here.
  • Self-editing Your Novel – Online course – 6 November | Debi’s awesome course, now mostly booked out. One place left at time of writing. SOLD OUT
  • Getting Published – EVENT – 17 November | Central London Get your manuscript in shape for agents. Learn how to get it published. Get direct feedback from some of the best agents & book doctors in town. Unmissable. Details coming soon.
  • Creative Writing Flying Start – Online course – 20 November | Super brilliant starter course for early-stage writers. Massively recommended. Details here.





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Jericho Writers
Belsyre Court
57 Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 345 459 9560



 

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How to win a writing competition

Okay, so who would love to know the secret to winning a writing competition? *Raises Hand*. Well, you’re going to love this week’s newsletter!








EVENT: How to Write a Novel Day – London – 27 Oct (Discounts available for members)
Join us, editors and literary agents for a day getting to grips with how to write a novel, the right way. Perfect for anyone writing a first draft, or even those wanting to tidy up their tenth!

NEW on Jericho Writers


 

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FEATURE: How to win a novel writing competition (FREE to members)
That's right. We chat to the Founder and a previous winner of one of the biggest international novel writing prizes for new authors, the Bath Novel award, to find out what makes a winning entry.

BLOG: Winning a writing competition at the Festival of Writing
We catch up with the winners of the writing competitions at the Festival of Writing 2017 to see where they are a year on, and the tips you need for next year.

SNAPSHOT: Why are all villains so bad? With Haydn Middleton (FREE to members)
This brand new Snapshot looks at what you can do to make your villain more relatable (and very nearly features a song from Haydn, too!)




Content corner: Five writing competitions open right now

So, now we have more of an insight into what makes a winning entry, let’s put it into practice with these writing competitions, now open:
Eligibility: Unpublished novels for children and teens.
Entry fee: £25 Prize: £2,500
Deadline: 2nd December

Eligibility: Unpublished speculative short stories under 10,000 words.
Entry fee: €8.50 Prize: €1000 and publication
Deadline: 30th November

Eligibility: Unpublished stories between 2,000 – 5,000 words from writers living in Commonwealth countries.
Entry fee: FREE Prize: £5,000
Deadline: 1st November

Eligibility: For writers who have had previous short-story publication. Traditional stories under 5,000 words. UK and Commonwealth only.
Entry fee: FREE Prize: £1,000
Deadline: 31st October

Eligibility: Romance, Thriller, Crime, Horror, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult short stories under 4,000 words.
Entry fee: $30 Prize: $2,500
Deadline: 15th October

Good luck!
Sarah J




Cartoon - Preparing yourself to win a writing competition


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Follow us on Instagram for more of our 'The Life of a Writer' cartoon series by our very talented Stephanie!





As always, happy writing and remember, you can contact Stephanie or Nikki on +44 (0) 345 459 9560* or info@jerichowriters.com for any writing-related advice.
Best wishes,

Sarah Juckes
Author | Jericho Writers
*or if you're in the US, give us a call toll free on 1-800 454 2134





Plus, don't miss:

Slushpile LIVE with The Bent Agency17 Oct (FREE for members)
Pitch your work direct to literary agents from The Bent Agency in this free webinar exclusive for members. Submission deadline: 15 Oct. Webinar: 17 Oct. Register now.
Writing Picture Books for Children tutored course (Discounts available for members)
Start date 29 October. This beginners course covers all the essentials, from finding inspiration for stories, to creating characters kids will love, and everything in-between.
Children’s manuscript assessment (Discounts available for members)
Our children’s team is exceptionally strong and includes authors who have won or been shortlisted for most of the significant awards in children’s fiction.




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Jericho Writers
Belsyre Court
57 Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 345 459 9560


 

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Barnes & Nowhere


 

A shortish email this week.
(And no, I’m not on holiday, but I’ve been wrestling with my wife’s electric wheelchair and a new hoist we got for it this week. My verdict so far: mobility aids work extremely well in every way, so long as you are (a) strong, (b) fit, (c) mechanically adept, (d) have a complete spanner and socket set plus a full set of other tools, and (e) have all the time in the world. We’ve spent £1000 on mobility stuff this week and I’ve still been manually lifting a 55kg chair in and out of the back of our car. Brilliant, just brilliant.)
But: Barnes and Noble.
They’ve effectively put themselves up for sale, having made a loss of $125 million in the 2018 fiscal year. The company is making money at an operating profit level (ignoring deprecation charges) … but it’s still in a mess. It’s all very well to make money ignoring depreciation (ie: an allowance for wear and tear), but wear and tear is a real thing. If you don’t reinvest in your stores, they’re going to look very tatty indeed.
Sales are still declining. If you look at sales on a like-for-like, store-for-store basis, they’re also declining. That’s not good.
So what next?
Well, I don’t know, but it’s one of the biggest questions in the industry now, as it has been for years already.
I seriously doubt if B&N will just go bankrupt, close everything, and never trade again. That’s not on the cards. On the other hand, it still hasn’t proved that the US market needs a large bricks-and-mortar chain bookseller. And it’s one thing to put yourself up for sale: but who wants a loss-making firm built for a retail industry that belonged to decades past? That’s not clear either.
My best guess would be that Barnes and Noble survives. It shrinks. It ditches some of its monster stores. It closes some unprofitable outlets. It doubles down on the good stores in good locations and works hard to please those customers.
That would be a good outcome.
But what if things go badly wrong, as they might? What if B&N is forced into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy ? What if it is forced to trim right down to a mere rump of what it is now? And for all its problems, it still does $3.7 billion in sales, which still counts for a heck of a lot. This store matters.
Well, readers will be OK: they’ve got Amazon and a thriving independent book store sector.
Authors – you lot – will be OK too. We’ve got Amazon. We can reach readers easily. Indeed, the glory of self-publishing is that you can reach about 77% of the total market (for adult fiction) through Amazon and other etailers alone. At that point, why would you really care what happens to B&N?
But publishers?
Yikes. That’s where things get really scary. Sure, publishers can sell to Walmart and the like, but is that really publishing? Or is that just shipping commodities to a store that would just as happily sell beans or camping stools or fish food or TVs?
If you ripped Barnes & Noble out of American retail, the publishing industry starts to look desperately weakened. Ten or twenty years ago, traditional publishing HAD TO exist, because there was nothing else to connect writers and readers. But now that Amazon is as mighty as it is, and Borders is dead, and Barnes and Noble is in the Emergency Room, the necessity of a large corporate publishing industry looks much weaker than ever before.
This isn’t me predicting the end days, in fact, because I don’t think the most apocalyptic scenarios will happen.
But – we live in interesting times.
If you have an indie publishing focus, none of the Barnes and Noble news need worry you even a smidge. If you’re trad-oriented – well, watch this space. The industry is changing. It may change the options open to you. It may affect the choices you make.
I know you just want to write books and not be bothered with all of this, but you aren’t just an artist. You are also a solo-preneur, and the industry climate will affect you too.
Thought-provoking, right? Just be happy you’re a writer. We’re gonna be OK.
Till soon
Harry



PS: Interested in self-publishing? We got a course on that. Interested in traditional publishing? We got a course on that too.
But don’t buy em, you dummy. Get em for free. This page tells you more …
PPS: Some of you may have noticed some site downtime / glitches this last 24 hours. That’s all part of a project to improve the overall tech platform which will yield really positive results going forward. But – as with mobility equipment – there’s a fair bit of tinkering before you get what you want. Apologies for any inconvenience!
PPPS: Got something to tell me? Then hit reply. I’m a real human, y’know.
PPPPS: Info about our editorial services can be found right here. If you’ve got questions before you proceed, then feel free to contact our brilliant office team. But again: prepare properly before you do anything else. You’ll get much more value from our services if you do.
PPPPPS: We’ve still got tickets for our How To Write day: it’s in Central London on 27 Oct. It’d be great to see you there. Info about the event here.
As ever, if you don’t want these emails, just say no. You can unsubscribe to them here.



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Jericho Writers
Belsyre Court
57 Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HJ
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 345 459 9560

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