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Greek island inspiration for your first novel

Have you always believed you had a novel in you but never found the courage to put it to the test? How about a week of expert tutoring in the inspirational setting of beautiful Skyros to get you going? THE FIRST NOVEL (17 – 24 July 2016) could be just the kick-start you’re looking for. It combines practical advice on…
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Take a leaf out of Poppy’s book

As novelists we try to create a credible illusion of reality: things happen because things happen, a causal chain of events along an imaginary timeline. And after many years of arranging narrative plot we begin to believe that’s the way things really do happen. That effort leads to success, that good habits lead to better…
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What does the new novelist really, really want?

So you signed up  … or almost did … to the latest Faber Academy six-month ‘Writing a Novel’ course? Or joined me in Spain for the Literary Consultancy’s Literary Adventure? Or emerged triumphant from one of the summer Five Day Short Story courses? Well done – even for that moment of serious consideration. Out of…
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Is ‘scribomania’ a certifiable addiction?

When people want to know why I write, I look at them blankly. It feels like they’re asking me, ‘Why breathe?’ or ‘Why eat?’ And all I can say in reply is that it seems as necessary and sometimes as problematic as either of these life-sustaining activities. For, while it is true that it doesn’t usually…
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To blog or not to blog?

A question to Ask Shelley from Peter, who wants to know whether ‘writing a blog can be considered a good playground for developing a writing style/voice?’ There are three issues to consider here: What is a blog? Do writers need the frivolity of a playground? Is ‘writing style/voice’ a product of nature or nurture? A…
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A novel by 2017? Top ways to make it happen

It’s that time again – the countdown till the end of the year, the frenzy. And the sinking feeling that AGAIN the great novel you’d resolved to write last January is nowhere near finished. Or hardly started. Or maybe it’s still just an ephemeral gleam in your eye … Don’t beat yourself up. Guilt and…
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That vital opening line

This piece is not only about openings, it IS the opening shot in the Faber Academy’s SUMMER 2014 BLOG TOUR, which kicks off on the lively DOT SCRIBBLES site. Here it is for the homebodies: How far can an enticing opening line go towards selling your novel? In the innocent days when writers were advised to…
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Write A Novel – six-month daytime courses with the Faber Academy

SIGN UP NOW FOR SEPTEMBER 2017! Think ahead for a creative start to the new year, and put in an application now for a sought-after place. The Faber Academy intensive daytime course offers a chance for committed and ambitious new novelists to: Benefit from the structure of regular workshops covering everything from the first conception of an idea through to getting words…
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Making the most of your writing course

So you’re on the brink of signing up for a writing course – and, as you’re about to take the plunge, are nervously wondering what the best possible outcome can be?   A brilliant novel and/or sparkling short story, obviously. We all want that. And in my work as a tutor/mentor, I have isolated SEVEN…
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Whose opinion is it anyway? Everyone’s a critic these days

Once upon a time a writer wrote a book that somehow found its way to being published and then, miracle of miracles, it was among the minute percentage chosen for review. In awe and terror, said writer would wait for the august verdict from on high. Would the venerable Telegraph reviewer, for instance, give the…
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The Five Day Short Story at the Faber Academy

Summer 2017 will be here before we know it – and promises to be another fine season for short story writers. This year two five-day courses produced thirty great tales. This year we’re looking for an even more abundant crop. Two stimulating FIVE DAY SHORT STORY courses are to take place from 3-7 July and 4-8 September (see http://bit.ly/2phGmlq). Full details…
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About to sign up for a writing course? What’s stopping you?

So you’re on the brink of signing up for a weekend Masterclass – or a Five Day Fiction Booster – or a two-month Start to Write course – or any of the multitude of creative writing courses on offer? Or thinking about it anyway? And while one part of you – confident and decisive –…
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Gold Dust Mentoring for Writers

Training and Mentoring

A limited number of spaces are available for dedicated writers, serious about their fiction, to experience the individual attention, advice and inspiration provided by Shelley under the auspices of the prestigious Gold Dust Mentoring Scheme. An invaluable resource for new and emerging novelists and authors of non-fiction, Gold Dust offers eight hours of face-to-face meetings with…
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Writing Your First Novel and Writing Short Stories – two 60-minute Masterclass eBooks

Do you believe that you have the ability to write a novel, but little idea where to start? Do you yearn to write a perfect short story? Shelley Weiner’s two pithy and informative Guardian Masterclass eBooks offer the perfect mix of practical guidance and friendly support. The prospect of embarking on a novel can feel…
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Why do we keep writing – and what happens to all those words, words, words?

‘Why do we do it?’ a new writer wants to know. ‘Honestly, Shelley, here I am pouring out words, words, words – attending courses, being mentored, slaving away every moment I can in my quest to shape those words into fiction. What for? What’s my compulsion all about?’ I nod sagely, playing for time. But…
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Recipe for a creative workshop experience

So you’ve signed up for a writing course – or taken the plunge and embarked on a mentoring arrangement? Now you are wondering what the best possible outcome can be? A brilliant novel, obviously. We all want that. And in my work as a tutor/mentor, I have isolated SEVEN VITAL FACTORS that will inspire a…
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Down with New Year Resolutions for writers

Yes, dear writers everywhere, it’s the time of year when preachiness rules – when we’re told we should resolve to eat/drink less, to exercise more, be kinder and nobler, and to aspire to greater things. And, of course, to finish that novel – or at least get it off to a determined start. There are…
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Flamenco and the art of fiction

I lead a double life. There’s my desk-bound and word-dominated existence in grey London on the one hand. On the other, there is my alter ego: a tempestuous flamenco dancer with flashing eyes, nimble feet, and sinuous fingers. Yes, I regularly transport myself off on imaginary jaunts to hot Andalucía (actually, Chalk Farm), where I…
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Seven pillars of enchantment

A downside of all my manuscript appraisal and creative writing tutoring is that I’ve developed X-ray eyes. Hard as I try, I simply cannot ignore the inner workings of a piece of fiction. It can be a curse – like a kind of visual Tourette’s, irresistibly impacting on my suspension of disbelief. Instead of being…
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What makes mentoring work? Ten top essential ingredients

A large part of my writing/teaching time is devoted to individual mentoring: hour-long face-to-face or Skype meetings with new writers in which (I trust) they are imbued with creative energy and  the tools to channel this energy into a stronger, better piece of fiction. ‘Why and how does this happen?’ an interested potential mentee wants to…
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