In today’s episode I look at the first page of a listener’s story and suggest ways of making it better. This is a great episode to listen to if you want to know: – how can I get some tips for editing my novel? – how can I write a great first line? – how … Read more

This episode I chat to multi-award-winning writer Helen MacDonald, author of H IS FOR HAWK, about finding the right words, finding your voice, and pushing through in the face of self-doubt. We discuss her poetic influences, Top Gun, madness, painting and masculine crisis in interbellum England. We really dig down into how you might go … Read more

In this episode I chat with social psychologist James W Pennebaker about his research into expressive writing, and the tiny words we use each day but don’t notice. We talk about a specific way of writing that can improve your mood, sleep, immune system function and even help your body heal faster. We discuss computer … Read more

In this episode I chat to novelist and film-maker Guy Gunaratne. We chat about how he got into telling stories, the movie that changed his life, and the challenge of listening to the voices of the five very different characters in his debut novel, IN OUR MAD AND FURIOUS CITY. We also chat about saunas, … Read more

In this episode I chat to SF author Gareth L Powell about his pistol-toting flying ace monkey, ACK-ACK MACAQUE, writing sentient spaceships, winning awards and being nice on the internet. We get into his new novel, EMBERS OF WAR, and he shares his best writing tips for novice authors. This is a great episode to … Read more

In this episode I chat to novelist Claire North (aka Catherine Webb) about her amazing career spanning 20 (!) novels so far, starting when she was just 14. We chat about genre, growing up geeky, dystopias, craft, and changing the world – and her latest novel, 84K, set in a frighteningly familiar corporate near-future where … Read more

This episode I chat to Peter Newman, author of Fantasy trilogy THE VAGRANT, THE MALICE and THE SEVEN, and – released in the UK *this week* (!) – his latest, THE DEATHLESS. I grill him for precious, precious info on how he builds worlds, his philosophy on creating characters, and what makes Fantasy so compelling. … Read more

To mark the 100th episode of Death Of 1000 Cuts, my writing advice podcast, I thought I’d record a Q&A, answering listeners’ questions. Here are the questions I answer, in the order I answer them. Thanks very much to everyone who submitted questions! – How do you know when you’re being original? – When can … Read more

In this episode I take a look at a listener’s first page and suggest ways to make it better. That’s right, it’s an old school In The Barber’s Chair critique! This is a great episode to listen to if you want to know: – how can I be a better self-editor? – how can I … Read more

In this episode I chat to tabletop game designer Grant Howitt about creating stories out of thin air. We talk about the magic of gathering together to make stories with friends, how characters flow out of the simplest backstories, and ways in which you can use the techniques of roleplaying and improv to get over … Read more

In this episode I chat to author Jeannette Ng about her Gothic Fantasy novel UNDER THE PENDULUM SUN. We discuss how she came upon her tale of a gothic heroine travelling to the mysterious and threatening continent of Arcadia, in search of her missionary brother who has been trying to convert the Fair Folk. We … Read more

Hey dear ones, just a quick post to say that I’ve got rid of my mailing list. I was only sending mailouts sporadically, and it was an awkward mishmash of my poetry audiences and podcast listeners. Added to that, the open rate had dropped from around 60% to about 10% – so it was the … Read more

In this episode I talk about creative ways of getting unstuck when you’re working on a project, and showcase John August’s Writer Emergency Pack – a deck of cards designed to help storymakers out of jams. I also review what I’ve learned from speaking to the various authors I’ve had as guests on the show … Read more

Create your own user feedback survey Hey friend. I really want to get to know you. If you listen to Death Of 1000 Cuts, you would be making a big and valuable contribution by filling in this 5 minute (literally 5 minutes – it’s 10 questions) survey about what things you’d like me to do … Read more

I chat to Hayley Webster, author of JAR BABY and MEET THE TWITCHES. We talk about the origins of her love of reading, the ways a story engages your senses, and her approach to writing across genres, from mystery to literary fiction to memoir to children’s adventures. This is a great episode to listen to … Read more

In this episode I chat to author Emma Healey, about her bestselling Costa-winning debut ELIZABETH IS MISSING, and her new novel WHISTLE IN THE DARK. We have a wide-ranging, frank and occasionally funny chat about finding the voice of your protagonist, transmuting research into living characters and stories, and how to start again from scratch … Read more

In this episode I chat to author V C Lancaster about her work and the world of self-publishing. If you’ve ever considered publishing your own work, or you’re interested in how it all works, this is the episode for you. This is a great episode to listen to if you want to know: – how … Read more

Writing a novel? Finding it too easy? This episode isn’t for you. In this episode, author Tim Clare (that’s me) packs your 10-piece first draft survival kit. It has everything you need to get you through the first draft of your novel – the tools, the mindset, and proven strategies. The 10 Tools in your … Read more

In this episode, I had a chat with author Nikesh Shukla. You may have heard him in Season 1 where the two of us looked at a listener’s first page. If you’re not familiar with his work he’s written three novels so far: Coconut Unlimited which was nominated for the Costa, Meatspace and his latest, … Read more

In today’s episode I answer a listener’s question about character motivation and stakes. How do you know whether the stakes in your story are enough to carry a whole novel? How do you stress test your protagonist’s motivation before writing the entire book? Why do some character goals seem to matter more than others? This … Read more

In this episode, author Tim Clare (that’s me) talks about what’s been going on in fiction writing this week. I discuss the dangers of writers’ semi-jokey fixation on productivity and ‘laziness’, and why I think it makes us sad while creating the very problem it claims to tackle. Then I dive into a topic I’ve … Read more

  How should you plot your novel? What shape should your story have? How can you grip the reader from page one? How can you keep the tension and surprise up through the middle? And how can you make your ending as satisfying as possible? Death Of 1000 Cuts, the writing podcast with author Tim … Read more

In this episode author Tim Clare (that’s me) looks at another listener’s first page and gives a detailed critique of the opening to their story. I talk about how you can use vocabulary to build mood and imply things. I talk about how to write great similes and when to dial them back. I talk … Read more

On the latest episode of the creative writing advice podcast, author Tim Clare (that’s me) responds to listener requests to an episode dedicated to editing your work. What are the best rules for editing your fiction? What are some simple techniques you can apply right now to your work to make it immediately better? How … Read more

In this episode I give advice about changing your relationship with your writing, and the perils of seeing making art as a war, or viewing your novel as the enemy, or listening to your self-doubt as if it were your boss. I talk about Steven Pressfield’s non-fiction book The War of Art, and David Bayles’ … Read more