Top tips from Cardiff Met for National Novel Writing Month

Cardiff Metropolitan University is sharing its top tips for budding writers during National Novel Writing Month, which runs throughout the month of November.

National Novel Writing Month, often shortened to NaNoWriMo, is an annual Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. Well-known authors write “pep-talks” to keep them motivated throughout the process.

Dr Dan Anthony, Lecturer in Creative Writing and Enterprise Entrepreneurship Education at Cardiff Met, is no stranger to writing. His eighth children’s book, called ‘Submarine Spies and the Unspeakable Thing’, is due out next year. He has also written scripts for TV and radio, including situation comedy series and short stories for Radio 4, Radio 3 and Radio Wales, as well as working on CBBC’s The Story of Tracey Beaker.

Dr Anthony said:

“I started writing when I was in school, but always had a problem with spelling and handwriting, so I was identified by teachers as someone who definitely couldn’t write. Perhaps that’s why I write children’s books.

“I research into intellectual property and its relationship with creativity and am extremely interested in furnishing our students with the skills needed to negotiate successful outcomes in an entrepreneurial and business orientated economy. Most of the work I write is inspired by Wales, where I live.”

“Students of creative writing will know that there is no checklist that will guarantee a writer success. But there are some useful things worth remembering. William Goldman’s famous line ‘nobody knows anything’ has always inspired me.

“When it comes to creating interesting stories, ‘a cat can look at a king’. So, don’t be scared to say exactly what you want in the best way you can. To do that you need an open mind and willingness to work on text, rewriting, rewriting and rewriting until it can’t be made any better. Then, when it’s published, you’ll see how you could rewrite and make it better.”

Özgür Uyanık studied MA Creative Writing & English Literature at Cardiff Met, graduating in 2018. Özgür’s debut novel “Conception” will be published by Fairlight Books in May 2020. A black comedy, the journey of a sociopath, and a dark exploration of the commerciality of contemporary art; Conception takes aim at the question of who and what determines the value of art as well as providing an entertaining foray into the mind of a deeply disturbed artist.

Ozgur said:

“During my time at Cardiff Met, meeting fellow writing students and discussing our work in class really helped me with motivation, whilst exploring different aspects of English literature opened up new horizons of thought and creativity that fed into my writing process.

“National Novel Writing Month helped me to produce that all-important and fiendishly-difficult-to-achieve first draft. Once that was done, the real work began as, famously, writing is re-writing.

“To any budding writers, I would say that reading regularly is a huge part of the writing process and sometimes can get overlooked. Also, get used to talking succinctly about your ideas and work with friends, family and strangers alike because it helps to crystallize your own thinking and is an invaluable skill if you want to approach agents and publishers.”

National Novel Writing Month started in July 1999 with 21 participants. By the 2010 event, over 200,000 people took part and wrote a total of over 2.8 billion words.

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