"I am animal-mad... There does seem to be a counter-movement now towards recognising they are sentient beings, which is soothing and hopefully signals a better future for all animals at our hand." Lisa Harding
Tips for writers
Risk and persist

Risk and persist

Umi Sinha’s debut novel Belonging is a beautifully crafted epic of love and loss, ethnicity and homeland, telling the interwoven story of three generations from the darkest days of the British Raj in India to the aftermath of the First World War in rural Sussex. Here are some tips and hints she gleaned from completing the novel, and...
53 ways to improve your short stories

53 ways to improve your short stories

The author of We Don’t Know What We’re Doing has thought quite a bit about how best to approach writing short fiction. We asked him to compile a list of do’s and don’ts and suggested reading that might help practitioners at any stage of their craft. 1. Read Flannery O’Connor. Now. 2. All characters think...
Brevity

Brevity

Benjamin Johncock’s debut novel The Last Pilot is a gritty tale about a US Air Force test pilot who is set to become one of the world’s first astronauts until a crisis in his young family forces him to face the earthbound challenges of fatherhood. His taut, spare prose has been compared with Raymond Carver,...
It's all about you

It’s all about you

Kate Griffin won the 2012 Faber/Stylist Magazine Crime Fiction writing competition. Her entry was the basis for her debut novel Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders, shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger. The second in the series, Kitty Peck and the Child of Ill Fortune, is published by Faber & Faber on...
Think smarter

Think smarter

Laura Lippman’s latest novel Hush Hush sees her ballsy Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan as a flustered new parent plunged into a disturbing case involving the death of an infant and a venomous stalker. She shares her tips on maintaining suspense in crime fiction by keeping readers sympathetic, engaged and always on the alert.   1. Don’t be...
The mindful writer

The mindful writer

So you want to be a writer? According to popular mythology, all you need to do is hole up for a weekend or three, drink copious amounts of coffee and/or smoke a lot of cigarettes and put pen to paper. Words of genius will instantly pour out of you. After that comes The Auction, which...
Other people's stories

Other people’s stories

Reading other people’s stories for discussion in a workshop, you will need to decide whether or not the piece succeeds as literary fiction, which elements of the present version do and do not work well, and what revisions might result in a more successful story. Then you will need to articulate these responses fully and...
Let the reader in

Let the reader in

I only have one tip for writing that I feel strongly about, and that is to write something that allows space for the reader. The reader is a living, breathing presence in the novel – not a particular reader for whose tastes you must write, but a notional one: a mind that lives among your...
Stay flexible

Stay flexible

The acclaimed New Wave Caribbean novelist and writing tutor shares her top ten tips for keeping the creative juices flowing. 1. Perfectionism is anti-creative. Get used to the notion of drafting your work, trying things out and making creative decisions on a regular basis. 2. The quality of attention to detail is the measure of...
Ignore silly rules

Ignore silly rules

Jill Dawson’s novels include Fred and Edie, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize, Watch Me Disappear, longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Great Lover, a Richard and Judy Summer Read, and The Tell-Tale Heart, about a recovering heart transplant patient transformed in unexpected ways. In addition she has edited...