Monthly Archives: October 2013

Back in August, when I published my ebook on novel-writing,NOVEL, lack of space decreed that I had to trim down and tweak, losing the planning notes alluded to in Step 4 (which can now be found a few posts back on here) and my short closing notes about books  I’d mentioned. ‘I’ll pop that on the website,’ I remember thinking/deciding/planning, and then, as is typical, I forgot.

I blame my iPhone entirely, since that’s what they were invented for, but now – hulloo hallay – I have finally remembered. So here, for your reading pleasure, it, um, is:


NOVEL: a writer’s reading list

I have mentioned several books and writers in the process of compiling NOVEL, all of which have, at some point, provided education, explanation, inspiration and consolation, during the journey I travelled to become that ‘jobbing writer’. I still have my copies of them all, mostly battered; as with people, they have become rather more crumpled with age, but none the less brilliant for all that.

How to Write a Blockbuster (and make mi££ions) by Sarah Harrison

Yes, on my early copy those Ls really were rendered as pound signs. How terribly vulgar. Or how terribly clever, along with the sentiment in the strapline. I would write for shirt buttons but, like many a writer before me, had the same financial dreams as any other ambitious young scribbler. Buying this tome, therefore, was a must. I read it in two enormous sittings (a long haul flight was involved) and once I was done, I went back to the beginning and read it again more slowly. And after I’d done that, I began writing my first novel. I can’t thank Sarah enough for penning How to Write a Blockbuster. It was the book that made me say ‘Lynne, now just go do it.’ And then I did. Track it down. I bet you’ll feel like that too.

On Writing by Stephen King

If you’ve yet to read this you are in for such a treat. Part memoir, of the author’s life, and the year following his terrible – and well documented – road accident, this is a deeply personal look into the creative process, a la King, and is, for me, at least, incredibly inspirational.

Bestseller by Celia Brayfield

If you want to indulge in some mental gymnastics and think hard about what storytelling and narrative generally is all about, this is an engrossing and thought provoking read. I found it fascinating.

Wannabe a Writer by Jane Wenham-Jones

I must own up; Jane is one of my best pals – we go back years now – and also a fabulously fresh and funny writer. No, I didn’t have this to hand when I was one of the great unpublished and, yes, I am quoted in it, so am possibly biased, but it’s jam- packed with hints, tips and illuminating anecdotes, about both writing and writers. You will laugh out loud more than once, i promise.


Also treasured, but out of print (go google; bet you’ll be able to find one) are Writers on Writing by Alison Gibbs – interviews with several of the UK and the USA’s bestselling novelists, and 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B Tobias – which does exactly what it says on the tin.

I would also urge every writer to beg, steal or blag their own copy of the Oxford Dictionary of Quotationsfabulous for themed browsing and, in times of scant hope or motivation, for choosing the prefect quote to go in the front of the novel that you will – oh yes you will – finally finish.

Lynne :)

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On Duty With The Queen

Dickie Arbiter with Lynne Barrett-Lee

Buy on Amazon.

The one Buckingham Palace tried to ban…

From the inside jacket flap:

In this wonderful and honest book, former press secretary to the royal family Dickie Arbiter reveals the inner-workings of everyday life inside Buckingham Palace and what it s really like to be On Duty with the Queen. With over three decades of experience covering royalty as a journalist and as one of Her Majesty s press secretaries, Dickie Arbiter has had unprecedented access to the inner circle of some of the most intriguing news stories over the years and is the only royal commentator to have witnessed the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and covered her Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees. Appointed a press spokesman for Queen Elizabeth II in 1988, Dickie was immediately catapulted into the media circus surrounding the world s most famous and divisive family. From sailing in the Royal Yacht Britannia, escorting Prince Charles on far-flung trips across the globe and the Commonwealth and joining Her Majesty for washing-up duties following a picnic in Balmoral Castle, to becoming one of Princess Diana s most trusted confidantes before briefing the world s media of her untimely death, Dickie was at the forefront of the decision-making at the Palace during the most turbulent decade in the monarchy s reign. Open, entertaining, enlightening and surprising, On Duty with the Queen is a wonderful account of a once-in-a-lifetime job and a truly unique service to the crown.

Buy on Amazon.

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