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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2016 > Welcome...


Dear Reader

How long does it take to write a novel? There’s not really a one-size-fits-all answer of course, but there is a strong tendency among us to assume that quickest is best. And that makes a certain sense. You can’t start trying to get your novel published if you never quite finish it. Daily targets, too, play a significant part in our sense of achievement. The sprawling mass of a novel seems like an impossible challenge without breaking it down into smaller chunks. (And how can you one-up your writer chums without a precise figure of how many thousand words you raced through before breakfast on Sunday?) That approach, though, is a means to an end, a way to make the mammoth task seem more manageable and to make sure the novel is finished before you are. Writing isn’t an even process and for many of us, it’s about the journey as much as the destination so, as Sophie Beal says this month (see p12) there’s no harm in taking your foot off the pedal every now and then to focus more closely on pivotal scenes, get the details right or just – NaNoWriMo gods be damned! – enjoy the process. So much of what writers achieve doesn’t translate to wordcount anyway, the mulling, the observation, the sleepless nights and frantically-scribbled 3am realisation... not to mention that the writer who hasn’t lived has nothing to draw on.

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Slow down! Why word counts and targets aren't always good for your writing Synopsis secrets: The single page that will sell your book Top tips for every genre:- • Crime: Perfect pacemaking • Five ways to grow creatively as a children's author • Explore the new trend for genre-blending fantasy Masterclass: Study the style and stories of Henry Fielding, James Thurber, Rudyard Kipling and Roald Dahl Star interview: Anne O'Brien, the challenger to Philippa Gregory's crown WIN! A PC worth £600

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