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Margaret Atwood Tips For Writers

1. According to Margaret, a novel is a long story that ought to inspire the reader or listener to hear more of what is happening to the characters and how life turns out for them at the end.

 Margaret Atwood

2. Don’t be afraid to try out different voices, styles and techniques, and always keep only what works for you.

3. Fear keeps many people from writing. Identifying that fear and dealing with it will open lots of doors for you as a writer.

4. Structure = order of the story. You may decide to tell your story chronologically (from the beginning to end), or from some point in the future and jump back in time. Underneath all these structure choices, a plot (what happens) will always remind the same.

5. Your story will guide you on what structure it requires so be open to trying various structures before settling on one; it’s a hands-on process, according to Margaret. She advises to start with the simplest structure and then work your way to more complex ones.

6. While determining from whose point of view the story is being told, ask yourself: “Whose voice is telling the story?”, “To whom are they telling it, and why?” Devote a significant amount of time to figuring out whose point of view your story is going to come from.

7. When you find the right strategy for your novel, your writing will move much faster than before. You will be able to feel the momentum.

8. Devote a significant amount of time to figuring out whose point of view your story is going to come from.

9. Changing the point of view from the first to the third person can help you unlock the story. If you also decide to change narration from past to present, it will have a similar effect on your story, especially when/if you feel stuck.

10. You cannot separate characters and events. A person is what happens to them – WHAT? I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT. In a novel, your characters have to interact with the events that happen to them over time.

11.  As a writer, you need to understand your characters, which means that you have to learn everything there is about them. Your characters are just like real people and have a history, hobbies, obsessions, secrets, likes, and dislikes.

While you are here, you might also be interested in Creative Distribution.

Filed under: writers, writing tips

About the Author

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Magda Olchawska is an award-winning independent filmmaker, writer and screenwriter. She writes not only about making films and writing but also about financially independent and sustainable lifestyle. Her current projects include Ecotopia Universe and School Runs.

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