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To help inspire all the writers taking part in NaNoWriMo this November, a selection of Egmont authors share their writing tips. Today our exclusive writing advice comes from the esteemed, award-winning author Penelope Lively.

Penelope Lively’s Writing Advice

My only advice for anyone wanting to write – trying to write – is in fact to read. You learn how to write by reading. Reading and reading and reading.

That way, without you even realising it, you will have learned how to use language, words, you will have seen how a story develops – begins, gains pace, ends.

Ghost stories are fun, and a great way to start writing a story; my only advice there is to give the ghost a strong character, make them as much a personality as anyone else in the story.

About Penelope Lively

Penelope LivelyPenelope Lively was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1933 and brought up there. She came to England in 1945, went to school in Sussex, and read Modern History at St Ann’s College, Oxford. Her many books written for children include Astercote (1970), The Whispering Knights (1971), The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973), which won the Carnegie Medal, and A Stitch in Time (1976), which won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award. Two of her novels written for adults have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and she won it in 1987 with Moon Tiger.

More recent novels include The Photograph (2003) and Making it Up (2005). She has also written two volumes of autobiography and many short stories. Penelope Lively contributes regularly to a number of national daily newspapers and literary and educational journals. She has written radio and television scripts and was presenter for a BBC Radio 4 programme on children’s literature.

Penelope Lively is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a member of PEN and a former Chairman of The Society of Authors. She was awarded an OBE in 1989, a CBE in 2001 and a DBE in 2012.

Find out more about Penelope Lively on her website.

About NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), is an annual, online creative writing project that takes place every November. Around the world, people of all ages try to write a 50,000 word manuscript between November 1 and November 30, and gain support from other writers and NaNoWriMo participants. Find out more on the NaNoWriMo website.