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Writing a Novel

Richard Skinner

The essential companion for your writing life.

Date Published
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Writing A Novel is not a set of rules and regulations. It is an atlas, a guide to finding your own way over the treacherous passes of your first novel.

Pulling together his years of experience as a novelist and a teacher, Richard Skinner covers the basics of writing great fiction – narrators, characters, settings – with charm and rigour. But more than that, he argues that the journey towards a final manuscript is as important as the finished article itself.

His approach works: many of Richard’s students have gone on to secure publishing deals and many more have left his courses with work to be proud of. With its balance of warmth and wisdom, Writing a Novel will give any aspiring writer the confidence to face the blank page — and to fill it.

Critic Reviews

‘Without wanting to lean towards hyperbole, it really has been the most wonderful six months under your tutelage.
I feel I have learned such an extraordinary amount.'

Ben, a student on Writing A Novel 2017
Critic Reviews

'Lovingly researched and beautifully imagined.' (on The Mirror)

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

'There are tinges of the uncanny, strains of the gothic, to both stories. In each there are corridors and locked doors it would be best not to pry into. Skinner’s prose has the strangely contradictory quality of being so clear and crystalline that you feel it must be hiding something. It’s an effect that is, like the settings of both these highly unusual tales, creepingly claustrophobic.' (on The Velvet Gentleman)

Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

'I just loved Oliva's voice and story, the whole world The Mirror manages to evoke. And then The Velvet Gentleman, in voice and style, was a complete volte face but, as I recovered from being jolted out of Oliva's world so shockingly and unexpectedly, an equally intriguing and compelling story.' (on The Mirror)

Lucy Caldwell, author of The Meeting Point and All the Beggars Riding
Critic Reviews

'Skinner’s elegant prose is restrained and increasingly hypnotic.' (on The Mirror)

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

'[Skinner's] prose is poetic and beautiful... It approaches its subject with a spare and clear reality, as if through the cold sharp lens of the mirror that glitters at the story's heart. I really enjoyed this novel. It lingered in my mind for days.' (on The Mirror)

Essie Fox, author of The Goddess And The Thief, Elijah's Mermaid and The Somnambulist

Richard Skinner is a novelist, poet and critic. His most recent book, The Mirror, was described as ‘beautifully written . . . immersive . . . captivating’ by the Guardian. As Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy, he created the flagship ‘Writing a Novel’ six-month course in 2009 and since then has helped hundreds of writers find their…

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