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Juggling, juggling

How a classic song was made, life-changing books, track your reading, how to write immersive settings and scene building.

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
3 min read
Juggling, juggling
Raymond Briggs at his writing desk. Photo: © Mike Lawn

Welcome to another edition of the Draft Mode newsletter, as sent by me, Iain Broome, following a two-week holiday, or, as I like to call it, 'intense parenting elsewhere'.

It's the six-week summer break for schools here in the UK, which means a whole lot of juggling childcare and client work. Juggling, juggling. It's all I ever seem to do. And you know what? I can't actually juggle at all.

Anyway, it's an even busier summer than usual, so emails me from me in August are going to be shorter (probably) and slightly sporadic (definitely).

Enjoy the lovely writing nuggets below.


PS Raymond Briggs, author or The Snowman, died this week. The image above is him at the writing desk he worked at for 50 years.

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.

How Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse made 'Back to Black'

I love finding out how stuff was made so this video is right up my alley. It's a fascinating insight into the making of Back to Black, which sounds as good now as when it first came out. Perhaps the thing to take away as a writer is how many times Ronson says he had no idea what he was doing!

The book that changed my life

I've been reading Austin Kleon's books for nearly a decade and routinely give them away to pals. This is a lovely post where he reflects on the writing of Steal Like An Artist, his first and best-known book. It's 10 years since it was published and I still very much recommend it today.

The StoryGraph – track your reading and choose your next book

If like me, you really don't get along with Goodreads, not least because it's owned by Amazon, you should check out Storygraph. It does all the things Goodreads does, only better and without making you feel all icky inside.

(Sent to me by excellent long-time reader/listener Andrew Clews, who makes a fine podcast about cars, if that's something you're into.)

How To Write An Immersive Setting

Good stuff from Emma-Claire Wilson over at Jericho Writers. I always think a setting really works when it feels like a character itself – when it becomes a living, breathing place in your brain-box.

(Found via The Empowered Author newsletter.)

The Building Blocks of Scene

The first in a three-part series on writing scenes from Sharon Oard Warner over at Jane Friedman's ace blog for writers. I think many writers think about writing chapters, but going further and breaking things down into specific, individual scenes can be a helpful exercise.  

Tweets of the week

So many bad tweets. These are good ones. 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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