Writing Lessons 10 – Students And Novelists

Michael on mentoring students…


This one is for students going to university – either first years or postgraduates – as well as aspiring novelists: keep it simple!

I spent two years fairly recently helping students at Exeter University with their communication skills, working for the Royal Literary Fund’s Fellowship Scheme. 

It was a great experience, although very daunting. After all, I have no degree. I was dealing with students who were a great deal better educated than me, and covering a wide range of disciplines – religious studies, English, business, law, and medicine, amongst others, and at every level of competence up to PhD.

The first thing that became clear to me was, that the students were all too often trying to write to an academic standard, rather than simply attempting to communicate. What do I mean? All too often students would use long sentences, long words and long paragraphs to try to…

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