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A single sentence

Index your books, how to write a synopsis, making writing groups work, revising for a second edition and making your art a garden.

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
3 min read
A single sentence

Here I am all up in your inbox again. That's right, it's me, Iain Broome sending you the Draft Mode newsletter as if last week's missing email didn't happen.

Here's a super-quick writing exercise for you.

Most days I will take a Post it note or index card and start writing a single sentence. Not all small with white space around it. Nice and big so I can't mess around or delete things. The sentences are never perfect.

What the note or card provides is constraints. And speed. I can't write loads because there isn't the room. It doesn't take long because... well... there isn't the room for anything else. Just a single sentence.

Sometimes the sentences are rubbish. Sometimes they are kind of nothing at all. But occasionally, one will have something in it. The sentence will sparkle just a little. Other ideas will come. A start will be made.

So, have a go yourself. And if you get carried away, you can even make a blackout poem using the very sentence you just created.

Enjoy the exciting content provided below. I found it just for you.

Many cuddles,


Every issue I collect and share the best advice, apps and other shenanigans that I find on my internet travels. Find something useful? Subscribe for free.

Index your books with this free Airtable template

Free Airtable template to create a book catalogue

See all those books you've got there on those shelves? And those in the kitchen by the window too? What about the rubbish stuff hidden away in the cellar? Now you can index them all and create your own book catalogue using this excellent Airtable template. Airtable is superb by the way. Sexy spreadsheets.

How to Write a Synopsis

Excellent and practical advice on writing a synopsis from The Literary Consultancy. I have to say, I hated writing one for A is for Angelica. It's so hard to distill an entire book into one page! But you do have to be ruthless and it really does give you a greater understanding of your work.

'I Can't Build a Daily Habit!'

Oh – I really love this piece by Yanyi. It's not really about habits at all – it's about acknowledging that life is messy then finding space between the cracks to make art happen.

Don’t worry too much about having a “complete” thought as much as getting the initial sketch down. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. It may take many months for the same thought to recur and build on top of itself. In a world where everyone else is expecting something from you, make your art a garden you expect nothing from. Show no one. Ask for no feedback.

You should check out Yanyi's newsletter archives too. Lots of fantastic stuff on writing and being an author.

What makes writing groups work

Fancy starting your own writing group? You might want to read this post in Nicole Zhu's excellent newsletter, where she outlines the simple rules that help shape her own writing group. You could find some pals and start one tomorrow.

Two ways to find out the word count of (almost) any book

I clicked on this link expecting to find some kind of magic, but it's actually very straightforward. Handy though, if you want to know how long the book you're writing compares to others in a similar genre.

What it's like to revise a book for its second edition

This is a fascinating insight into how political journalist, Ian Dunt wrote a revised version of his recent book, How To Be A Liberal. He changes specific – and important – names for entire movements, adds a new ending and provides further context where needed. Really interesting. Some swearing involved.

Tweets of the week

Tweets are but mothballs in a cupboard of bad fashion choices. But some of them are quite good. You can follow @iainbroome and @DraftModeHQ on Twitter.

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Draft Mode is a weekly newsletter by Iain Broome, author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Join 1100+ subscribers and start receiving the tools and tips that help you improve, publish and promote your writing. Subscribe for free.

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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.

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