Monday, November 13, 2006

Free online writing course

If you're looking for a free online course in novel-writing, The Telegraph offers one via a series of weekly articles by novelist Louise Doughty. Now in its 45th week, A novel in a year looks like it could be useful to aspiring authors. You can scroll down the page and pick out topics that interest you or you can just start at Week One and go through the entire course.

This isn't a blanket endorsement of the course, but the one article I looked at, Week 44: Choose a voice, offered some very sensible advice to new writers:

The problem with using multiple narrators is that there is always a risk your reader will prefer one to the other.

I would also advise against mixing the first and the third person in the same book.

Many authors do or have done (mea culpa), but I now regard it as a sign of insecurity, suspecting that the author couldn't cope with the limitations of one style and so decided to mix them up, hoping it would look postmodern.

There has to be a cast-iron reason for that kind of stuff otherwise you won't get away with it. Readers aren't fools.

Have fun!

Technorati Tags:


TrudyJ said...

Interesting advice. I nearly always use mulitiple narrators and I think readers DO prefer one over the other. (Oddly, most of the books I have actually gotten PUBLISHED have had a single narrator ... should I be taking a lesson from this?)

As someone currently doing NaNo, A Novel in a Year sounds woefully unambitious, but that's just where my head is at right now.

Brenda Coulter said...

I hear you, Trudy. But those articles are short and look like they might be helpful, so I thought you NaNo types might want to take a look at some of them.