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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2016 > Under the microscope

Under the microscope

Author and lecturer James McCreet puts a reader’s first 300 words under the lens


Head first 2 I plunged into the inky night 3 swell of the Atlantic 4. This was no accident; 5 John my sailing companion 6 knew well the dangers out here7. He had shaken me awake to help clear one of the lines from the rudder of our sloop.8 It was nearly time for me to relieve him at the helm, so half asleep I tumbled from my bunk already clothed and made my way up the steps to the stern. 9 John seemed to be trying to get the torch to work, banging it against his hand and muttering to himself.10 The light came on as I passed him to lean over the back of the yacht to feel for the obstruction.11 There was a bang and I thought he had dropped the torch, then my ankles were grabbed and before I could think of resisting he lifted me over the stern into the sea.12 No mistake!13 No time to yell!14 Premeditated and neatly done.15

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Got a five year plan? You set the targets, we'll help you hit them Everything you need to know before you write your novel New series: Shelf life - Top authors pick their favourite reads Reinventing Shakespeare: Be inspired by the Bard Publishing: Behind the scenes - Follow a book from manuscript to publication Star interview: Reader success - Costa Book of the Year winner Frances Hardinge Writers' News: 20 packed pages of publishing opportunities and £80,608 in writing prizes

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