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YOUR NOVEL INSIDE OUT with The Literary Consultancy

Workshops for Writers

Shelley’s collaborative venture with The Literary Consultancy, the UK’s leading editorial advice service for writers, concluded with the last of her three day-long masterclasses collectively entitled YOUR NOVEL INSIDE OUT.  The day-long session on 28 March, called MAKING IT HAPPEN, looked at the writing process – style, revision, and what to do with your novel once you’re…
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Who on earth will buy my novella?

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The commercial imperative rears its head in the latest appeal to ASK SHELLEY. Frugal Fred (is there such a person?) believes that, while a novel could earn him a fortune, sweating over a novella may be for the birds. Dear Shelley (he writes), The novella masterclass that you’re running for Peirene sounds fascinating. I have…
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Advice from the Literary Agony Aunt

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Once upon a time, in my way-back incarnation as a jobbing journalist employed (illegally) in a Fleet Street features agency, one of my tasks was to provide a regular advice column for dissemination to the far flung outposts serviced by the agency. Readers, probably not that many, in places like Kowloon or Easter Island or…
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Can literary excellence be bought?

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When Tight Wilma’s dilemma lands in my ASK SHELLEY tray, I’m in a quandary. Does she know I have an interest in this area? Am I the best person to respond to her plea without prejudice? Here’s what she writes: Dear Shelley, I’m a new writer and wondering how best to get ahead. Alone and…
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When can I say, ‘I’m a writer’?

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Yet another literary dilemma comes crashing onto my desk or, rather, pinging into my inbox. Then another. And another. The whole world, it seems, is wanting to ASK SHELLEY for advice about writing issues they’d rather not talk about to anyone else. Well, perhaps not the whole world. And perhaps the problem is that most…
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The power of silence: another literary dilemma solved

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… And yet another literary problem lands on my overflowing desk. This time it’s from a writer with a bent for irony and an uncontainable desire to prematurely spill out her story. Poor Idina Closet (I assume Idina rhymes with Irina?) – if only there were a drug on the market with the verbal impact…
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Problems with dialogue? Shelley suggests the listening cure.

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There seems no end to the writerly travails that land on my desk, into my inbox and even on the streets, as I’m waylaid with tearful scribes in need of help. They’re tangled in plot-twists. Their characters stink. They’re stuck for the right words to describe their setting. Some are just stuck. Blocked. And while…
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Help! I’ve insulted my mother-in-law…

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Another literary dilemma lands on my desk! And, as the Peirene Press problem solver and masterclass deliverer, I’m duty bound to give my considered response. Here goes: Dear Shelley, I’ve just typed ‘THE END’ to my first novel – hooray! But now I suddenly see that one of my main characters, not a nice one,…
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What does the new novelist really, really want?

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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 all…
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