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Welcome to the Speculative Fiction Writing Made Simple Podcast! The show that’s all about how to brainstorm, write, edit, publish, and sell a powerful speculative fiction novel… and maybe just change the world too. I'm your host, Heather Davis. I’m a seasoned book coach, developmental editor, and fellow storyteller. In my work with writers, I always see the same problems and roadblocks standing in their way and preventing them from achieving their dream of becoming a published author. So it’ ...
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Listen to Confessions of a Debut Novelist, hosted by author Chloe Timms, to hear from new and up-and-coming writers about their debut novel. We talk writing journeys, tips and advice and what it's like to be new to the world of publishing. Each episode features a writer about to have their debut novel published, covering adult, YA and children's in a range of genres. We'll hear about rejections and setbacks, how writers signed with their agent and whether their book deal was with an indie pu ...
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Writing a speculative fiction novel that resonates with readers is tough work. Many writers feel they're doing something wrong when it takes time to create a draft that feels solid and ready to stand on its own two shaky legs. In fact, one of the very first questions most writers ask me before we start working together is some version of: "How long…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to LJ Shepherd about her psychological suspense novel The Trials of Lila Dalton. We discuss how to find high concept ideas, writing what you know but with a twist and why it's important to surprise smart and savvy readers. And right at the end of the episode, in a special spoilerific s…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jack Anderson about his psychological suspense novel The Grief Doctor. We discuss exploring the concept of grief through a doctor who will go to extreme lengths to cure it, trying to scare the reader and how his writing journey began with a viral post on Reddit. Confessions of a Deb…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jane Flett about her horror novel Freakslaw. We discuss why her inspiration started with bringing together her obsessions and interests, why Stephen King inspired her choice to use an omniscient narrator and how teaching and working alongside other writers helps her get through the …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Alan Murrin about his literary novel The Coast Road. We discuss authentically inhabiting the voices of three distinctive Irish women, why it took time to work out a fitting end for the novel and how he got the novel written by making bargains with himself. Confessions of a Debut Nov…
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Many writers want to include more LGBTQ+ characters in their novels, but they’re afraid of getting it wrong and doing more harm than good. If you’re one of those writers, this podcast episode is for you! My friend and colleague, Sam Cameron, explains exactly how every writer can feel empowered to write more inclusive stories. 🌟Take Sam Cameron’s qu…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Amy Twigg about her literary novel Spoilt Creatures. We discuss creating a charismatic cult leader, why she deleted the first 90k words and the importance of voicing your publishing worries. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy Spoilt Creatures: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/10…
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→Sign up for my free workshop Create a Dynamic Character Arc For Your Protagonist. This workshop, which includes live coaching, will help you develop the foundation elements of your novel and bridge the gap between plot and character arc! https://resources.manyworldswriting.com/workshop You might have heard of Goal, Motivation, Stakes, and Conflict…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Nathan Newman about their literary novel How to Leave the House. We discuss setting a novel in a 24 hour period, how Nathan found their comedic voice by setting out to write something to make their friends laugh and what it’s like to write to impress your mentor, when your mentor is…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling Kaliane Bradley about her literary novel The Ministry of Time. We discuss how her novel was inspired by writing fanfiction about a real Victorian polar explorer, creating a near-future world with time-travel and how her success with short …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Aimée Walsh about her literary novel Exile. We discuss how she creates characters by observing strangers in real life, writing about sexual assault without showing the scene and how she connected with an agent by sliding into their DMs. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Ashani Lewis about her literary novel Winter Animals. We discuss transforming a short story idea into a novel, researching a novel setting when you can’t travel there and how she blocks out scenes in stage directions in early drafts when she’s not in the mood to write beautiful sent…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Rob Perry about his contemporary novel Dog. We discuss how Rob created his teenage main character by amplifying the fears he had when he was a teen, using his phone to keep notes on life’s funny observations and the challenge every writer faces – accepting your novel will be flawed.…
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Snag my FREE workbook: resources.manyworldswriting.com/AI Everyone in the writing world is talking about AI, but should you really buy into the buzz? In this episode I’m going to explore what it’s okay to use AI for in your writing and what I believe you should never use AI for. In this episode you’ll learn: 3 tasks it’s okay to use AI for. 3 tasks…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Samuel Burr about his commercial novel The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers. We discuss why his novel was inspired by an appreciation of the stories told by older people, how his hook comes first when coming up with ideas and how he deals with the buzz and hype surrounding his novel, whil…
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Snag my FREE workbook: resources.manyworldswriting.com/edit Almost every writer wants to get better at self-editing their work. But how? And which techniques improve your work the most dramatically? In this episode I’m going to talk about the self-editing hacks that will help you rapidly improve your work as you write and edit. In this episode you’…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Elizabeth O'Connor about her literary novel Whale Fall. We discuss how she created a fictitious island community, her technique for overcoming problems with plotting and how she signed with an agent before she even had an idea for a novel. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* B…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Emily Howes about her historical novel The Painter’s Daughters. We discuss discuss using present tense in historical fiction, trying to sustain tension in the saggy middle of a novel and what theatre class taught her about writing through the body. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bo…
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Snag my FREE workbook: https://resources.manyworldswriting.com/truth Ever wondered why your favorite novels feel so authentic and cohesive? It’s not about all the surface level editing you’ve been driving yourself crazy with. Instead, it’s about the deeper stuff. The bones of the narrative. In this episode I’m going to talk about the subtle parts o…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Olivia Ford about her commercial novel Mrs. Quinn's Rise to Fame. We discuss using real people as a starting point for creating characters, her tips for finishing a novel when you work full time and the challenge of writing an uplifting novel and including sadder and serious subject…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Kristen Perrin about her mystery novel How to Solve Your Own Murder. We discuss playing fair with your readers when writing crime, how she used flash fiction character sketches to help flesh out her side characters and her surprise but successful move to withdraw her full manuscript…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Alice McIlroy about her psychological suspense novel The Glass Woman. We discuss her world-building in a novel where the technology is slightly more advanced than our own, writing about AI before it had hit public consciousness and the impact this had on trying to sell the novel and…
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Snag my FREE workbook: resources.manyworldswriting.com/magic Ever wondered how to create an interesting and compelling magic system that readers will love? In this episode I’m breaking down exactly how to create a magic system that works. In this episode you’ll learn: The crucial importance of weaving an engaging magic system into your fantasy worl…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Musih Tedji Xaviere about her contemporary novel These Letters End in Tears. We discuss how she was inspired by a courageous gay couple in Cameroon who stayed together despite the laws forbidding their love, the challenges of using second person and why she made the tough decision t…
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Snag my FREE interiority workbook: https://resources.manyworldswriting.com/interiority Have you ever wondered how to ensure your readers are so engrossed in your protagonist that they can put your novel down? In this episode I'm peeling back the layers of protagonist interiority and revealing how to create your protagonist's inner world and make yo…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Miranda Pountney about her contemporary novel How to Be Somebody Else. We discuss her “un”-coming of age story, why poetry encouraged her to be experimental and why it’s important not to rush the writing process. Confessions of a Debut Novelist Bookshop* Buy How to Be Somebody Else:…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Toby Lloyd about his literary novel Fervour. We discuss we discuss taking inspiration from Bible stories, how he tried to represent a variety of Jewish experiences and why having your work critiqued is one of the most valuable things you can do when starting out. Confessions of a De…
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What makes a protagonist memorable and unique? What makes readers fall in love with them enough to follow them around for 300-500 pages? Knowing the answers to those questions is the difference between creating a flat, dull protagonist and having a magnetic protagonist that readers can’t get enough of! In this episode you’ll learn: Why every novel …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jodie Matthews about her contemporary novel Meet Me at the Surface. We discuss writing the weird and creepy but keeping the world grounded, researching the Cornish folklore of where Jodie grew up and why she loves Bookstagram and thinks finding a community of readers is just as impo…
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If you're a writer, you've likely encountered the timeless advice: "Show Don't Tell." While intended to enhance scene creation by encouraging vivid depiction over mere narration, this guidance has been misunderstood, leading to detrimental effects on otherwise strong novels. If you've questioned the validity of this advice, stay tuned as I debunk m…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Madeleine Grey about her literary novel Green Dot. We discuss writing the "other woman" in an affair with empathy, how Madeleine's work as a critic gave her an understanding of how novels work and the importance of keeping note of overheard conversations and funny observations. Conf…
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The most important skill you can have as a writer is the ability to write a compelling scene, but it’s a skill that few writers have actually mastered. So in this episode we are going to do a deep dive into scene structure and learn: 1) How to know if an event in your novel actually needs to be a scene 2) the structure of a great scene 3) the 6 ele…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Emma Hinds about her historical novel The Knowing. We discuss giving her female characters agency in a Victorian era, her brilliant tips to find an agent, how she uses fanfiction as a playground and the long and difficult submission process she went through. Confessions of a Debut N…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jennie Godfrey about her commercial novel The List of Suspicious Things. We discuss what it means to be a super lead and how it feels emotionally to know your book is primed for success but also what it's like to carry that pressure on your shoulders, how Jennie developed her charac…
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The most important skill you can have as a writer is the ability to write a great scene... but, unfortunately, it’s a skill that few writers have actually mastered. You need to understand: 1) What a scene is. 2) Whether a given event in your novel needs to be a scene. 3) The structure of a great scene. If you’re ready to learn all about how kick*ss…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Sarah Marsh about her historical novel A Sign of Her Own. We discuss how her novel was inspired by a part of history that’s not well known, putting a deaf woman at the heart of her novel and her career-changing prize success. TRANSCRIPT: download Confessions of a Debut Novelist Book…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Jessica Bull about her crime novel Miss Austen Investigates. We discuss why Jane Austen makes the perfect detective, how Jessica knew the time was right to query her dream agent and what it's like writing a novel that went onto sell in 18 territories. Confessions of a Debut Novelist…
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Backstory is an essential part of every novel. Without it, your protagonist doesn’t have a meaningful character arc and your story lacks depth. But writers are (understandably) scared to put backstory in their novel because they’re afraid of info dumping. Well, there is a way to strike a perfect balance. You CAN include valuable backstory AND avoid…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Georgia Summers about her fantasy novel The City of Stardust. We discuss how she was inspired by stories from her childhood describing portals to another world, using real places to inspire her fantastical world building and her insight as a former editor and whether she writes with…
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Criticism is one of the hardest things for writers to process and it sometimes leads to writers giving up on the craft or refusing to share their work with the world. If you’re ready explore the 7 key understandings that will help you reframe criticism for a healthier relationship with it, access the FREE workbook right here: https://www.manyworlds…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Fiona Williams about her contemporary novel The House of Broken Bricks. We discuss discuss using nature writing to reflect the story's mood, reading work aloud to find rhythm and melody in a sentence, and how exposing the publishing process is for introverts. Confessions of a Debut …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Hester Musson about her historical novel The Beholders. We discuss the challenges of writing in a diary form, how to transform one dimensional characters and the crushing story of how Hester thought she was going to be published with a different novel, but it sold only to Italian pu…
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Nothing grabs readers’ attention like dialogue. That’s why it’s absolutely imperative to make sure that the dialogue in your novel is serving the story and making readers hungry for more. Ready to learn more about dialogue? Don’t forget to access the FREE dialogue checklist right here: https://www.manyworldswriting.com/dialoguechecklist If you’re r…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Lottie Hazell about her contemporary novel Piglet. We discuss how Lottie does what she calls “playful method writing” by cooking along with Piglet to connect with her character’s headspace, why food is a great way for writers to explore characters and after working in marketing at a…
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Spoiler alert—there’s a whole lot more to POV than just first person, second person, and third person. There are actually 4 layers that you need to master if you want readers and agents to love your novel! So if you’re ready to master POV in 2024, dive into the episode and don’t forget to access the FREE workbook right here: https://www.manyworldsw…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Emma-Claire Wilson about her commercial novel This Child of Mine. We discuss why she uses first person perspective to help readers live through her character’s light and dark, how she chose to transform her novel into a commercial style and building a writing platform before she had…
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📘Access the FREE workbook right here: https://www.manyworldswriting.com/better📘 ✨Fill out an application to my Powerful Writers, Powerful Novels Mentorship Program: manyworldswriting.com/mentorship ✨ Join the Many Worlds Writing Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1012106499677937/?mibextid=oMANbw Do you want to hone your writing sk…
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Lizzie Huxley-Jones about their festive rom-com Make You Mine This Christmas. We discuss character creation with mood boards and playlists, writing a disabled love interest and what ‘write for hire is’ and how this gave Lizzie their route into publishing. Confessions of a Debut Nove…
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Are you overwhelmed and frustrated by the complexity of worldbuilding for your fantasy and science fiction novel? Are things getting too complicated, too bloated, and too scattered? Are you worried that all those complex worldbuilding documents you found on Google aren’t really serving the core of the story you want to tell? Well, guess what? I’ve …
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In this episode of Confessions of a Debut Novelist, I’m talking to Lucy Barker about her historical novel The Other Side of Mrs Wood. We discuss her interest in Victorian seances and the true story that inspired her novel, how she created a warm and witty voice and how Lucy’s lack of faith in herself meant things didn’t work out with an agent in he…
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