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The Five Rules of Writing

All writers have rules they swear by – or love to break. In this series of podcasts, writers discuss the “always”, “nevers” and “only in emergencies” of producing the work in which they are expert.

Episode 10 – Tom Holland on how to write riveting ancient history

Ancient historian Tom Holland, author of bestselling works on Julius Caesar, the first Roman emperors, Persia in its imperial pomp and a history of Christianity, on turning the remote past into a gripping read.

@holland_tom

Episode 9 – Dr Gillian O’Brien on studying Ireland’s history via its sites of “dark tourism.” 

Dr Gillian O’Brien, historian and author of the superb “The Darkness Echoing,” on her “dark tourism” itinerary of Ireland’s “places of famine, death and rebellion.”

Episode 8 – Words and picture sisters Scarlett and Sophie Rickard on making stunning graphic novels

In episode 8 of The Five Rules of Writing, Scarlett and Sophie Rickard describe how they turned Robert Tressell’s “intimidating” Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists into a dazzling page-turner of a graphic novel.

Episode 7 – Journalist and author Dylan Jones on the art of interviewing for an oral biography

In episode 7 of The Five Rules of Writing, Dylan Jones, the GQ editor and author of entire libraries on music, politics and culture,  provides instruction for those wondering how to write an oral biography.

Episode 6 – Horror king Matt Wesolowski on how to write supernaturally-tinged crime

In episode 6 of the Five Rules of Writing, Matt Wesolowski, creator of the “Six Stories” brand of podcast-as-novel ultra-creepiness, on how to scare your readers witless.

Episode 5 – Cultural inspector David Hepworth on how to write rock history

In episode 5 of the Five Rules of Writing, David Hepworth, the journalist, broadcaster and writer of several bestselling volumes on how rock music changed the world, shares his views on how it’s done. You won’t be needing a chair.

Episode 4 – Thriller novelist Sabine Durrant on generating exquisite tension

In episode 4 of The Five Rules of Writing, Sabine Durrant, a masterful creator of unnerving domestic tension, sheds a little light on her techniques, including a superb method for surprising yourself.

Episode 3 – Crime writer Mark Billingham on writing at the darker end of the spectrum

In episode 3 of The Five Rules of Writing, novelist Mark Billingham shares some of the keys to writing bestselling crime stories around calculating psychopaths, including the need to keep your killer in plain sight, and the correct number of twists permitted per plot.

Episode 2 – Novelist Anthony Quinn on writing a love letter to Jürgen Klopp

In episode 2 of The Five Rules of Writing, novelist and Liverpool FC obsessive Anthony Quinn talks about how he set aside his fiction writing toolkit to compose an appreciation of Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, even going as far as to sit through press conferences in German, a language which he doesn’t speak.

Episode 1 – Tammy Cohen on writing novels as two people