How to hook your reader in chapter one

How to hook your reader in chapter one

The first chapter of your novel – or your prologue if you prefer – must contain a compelling opening hook, giving the reader a taste of what’s to come and persuading them that the rest of your story isn’t to be missed. Get it right and your reader will commit to your...
A guide to capitalising titles and ranks

A guide to capitalising titles and ranks

If you’ve ever had a hard time wrapping your head around when you should and shouldn’t capitalise words like ‘sergeant’, ‘doctor’, ‘queen’, and ‘sir’, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re not alone. Probably about half of the manuscripts I edit contain...
Five ways to fix a sagging middle

Five ways to fix a sagging middle

No, I promise I’m not moonlighting as a personal trainer. When I talk about a sagging middle, I’m referring to the way some stories lose their momentum as they reach the halfway point. It’s a common problem – affecting perhaps 10 per cent of the manuscripts I edit –...
How to write flashbacks

How to write flashbacks

Flashbacks are an important part of storytelling, enabling writers to connect the events and actions of the present to things that have happened in the past. They’re a particularly useful tool for demonstrating character motivations and introducing plot twists. If...
Interview: Matthew Harffy

Interview: Matthew Harffy

I recently read Matthew Harffy’s excellent book The Serpent Sword – the first in his Bernicia Chronicles series. Below, I ask Matthew about his writing techniques, his journey from first-time indie author to here, and his new book, Warrior of Woden. __ Q1: Hi Matthew....