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Finding a beat

Membership programmes, creating living characters, principles for writing non-fiction, and a directory of literary magazines.

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
3 min read
Colm Tóibín lying down underneath his desk, writing.
Colm Tóibín at his desk, writing. Image: Barry Cronin

Welcome to another edition of the Draft Mode newsletter sent by yours truly, me, for yes it is I, Iain Broome. How the heck are you?

I have a brief programming note for you. I'm slowing down to a fortnightly schedule for Draft Mode. Not forever, but certainly for the next few months. I want to make time for my novel-in-progress, of course. But I also want to reshape what Draft Mode is (and can be) based on your lovely feedback.  

Enjoy the excellent content below. Take the greatest of care.


PS The image above is Colm Tóibín at his desk, writing. Image by Barry Cronin.

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.

Memberships Work

I've linked to writer and photographer, Craig Mod's previous essays on running a successful membership programme. This year, he's written another piece that outlines the benefit his Special Projects scheme has brought to him and his subscribers. And in the video above, Mod shares how he got to now.

I signed up to become a Special Projects member last year and I genuinely think it's fantastic. I love how he does it – the tone, the clarity. You really get the sense that you're supporting someone making good things in the world.

I think this is all essential reading for anyone who wants an alternative route to making a career out of their writing. And for those of you who are interested in independent publishing more generally.

Those previous essays:

How to create living, breathing characters on the page

Some good tips and a fun writing exercise from the London Lit Lab blog. Do you know about London Lit Lab? Created by authors, Zoe Gilbert and Lily Dunn, it features a wide range of writing courses and mentoring opportunities. I did my MA Writing course with Lily, who happens to have a memoir coming out soon.

4 fantastic principles for writing non-fiction

This piece by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic is packed with tiny golden nuggets and I recommend you go take a read. He's referring to non-fiction and journalism, but most of the ideas relate to all kinds of writing.

Like this:

People naturally remember musical language, and I would encourage writers to inject their prose with a bit of music. When you’re writing, think about repetition and variety. Crescendos and rests. Pace and punctuation. Read your work out loud, and feel the rhythm of the words in your voice.

Quick note from me. Musical language does not mean complex words and linguistic tricks. It means rhythm. Finding a beat. And knowing when to start and stop a sentence. Not easy! But music is at the heart of all good writing.

chill subs – a directory of magazines to submit your writing to

This is ace. It's a searchable directory of magazines that you explore, filter and generally poke around with. Fancy submitting your writing to a publication? Seems a pretty good place to start looking. Made by Karina Kupp.

Tweet of the week

So many bad tweets. This is a good one. Follow @iainbroome on Twitter or @DraftModeHQ for newsletter notifications.

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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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