This concise yet comprehensive study explores innovative practice in the novel and, from the perspective of creative writing, the astonishing resilience of the novel form. It offers a practical guide to the many possibilities available to the writer of the novel, with each chapter offering exercises to encourage innovation and to expand the creative writer’s narrative skills. Beginning with early iterations of the novel in the 17th century, this book follows the evocation of innovation in the novel through Realism, Modernism, Postmodernism and into today’s dizzying array of digital and interactive possibilities. While guiding the reader through the possibilities available (in both genre and literary fiction), this book encourages both aspiring and established writers to produce novels with imagination, playfulness and gravitas.


Dynamic and interactive, this text is distinctive in offering a grounding in the literary history of the novel, while also equipping readers to write in the form themselves. It is an essential resource for any student of creative writing, or anyone with an interest in writing their own novel.



"I highly recommend Novel Ideas for aspiring writers and creative writing tutors - the volume combines sound practical advice with detailed knowledge of wider literary and theoretical contexts. Beautifully written, informative and accessible, this is an essential text."James Miller, Kingston University London, UK


"With entertaining and provocative exercises, Paul Williams details the genesis and development of this essential art form and includes a welcoming embrace of different voices and identities, as the novel arrives in the present moment."Alan Michael Parker, Davidson College, USA


"As author of award-winning literary fiction, I have read many books on writing. Paul William’s Novel Ideas goes further than all of them, digging deep into the earth of literary tradition and turning it for new insights. Not only does he elegantly articulate what literary fiction is about, he offers clear signposts for readers and writers to create their own. Every sentence bulges with information, inspiration or observation. Every sentence re-examined continues to inform. I cannot recommend it highly enough." Annah Faulkner, Miles Franklin nominee







We all spend much of our lives trying to cope with failure; sometimes we try to assign value to it, but failure looms as a debilitating concept in millions of lives, affecting children and adults alike.


Fail Brilliantly proposes a radical shift: erase the word and concept of failure from the realms of education and human endeavors. Replace it with new words and concepts. This shift in position has the potential to transform our lives and ultimately reshape our definition of success!



A quick read but a worthwhile one, Fail Brilliantly not only helps tackle the problem, but it helps you develop the skills to provide better solutions in the future."
- Manhattan Book Review



"There is no magical formula for dealing with failure, but...this book provides you with the MOST useful tools to do just that. A resource that should find itself in the hands of any person who is serious about dealing with this thing we call failure."
—Peter Pretorius - one of the world's first paraplegic flight instructors 


"Vividly written and immensely intriguing. . . . I join Davidow and Williams in their outstanding effort to present failures as opportunities for continued learning and problem solving that can successfully combat the shame, anxiety, and blame that failing induces too readily in our society."
—Laurie Hollman, PhD, psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior








Drawing on years of experience of writing, teaching and publishing, this book offers essential tools for anyone interested in honing their craft.


With a variety of exercises and freewriting prompts to help you try new styles and approaches, it is suitable for aspiring poets, non-fiction writers, novelists and all lovers of words.





This is probably the best "how to" guide for writers of prose and poetry I've read in a long time. The authors have packed an incredible amount of information into such a modest guide. It is practical, concise to-the-point from the get go, with no waffle and no repetition. Personal anecdotes are short and humble. The chapters are laid out with focus on specific skills followed by examples and exercises that build on each other as you progress through the book. The writing prompts and self-evaluation templates are also very helpful. An excellent tool kit on the art and craft of writing I will refer to again and again. Highly recommend!!!


Soldier Blue is a superbly written account of growing up in Rhodesia, centering on the author’s experiences as a young conscript during the ‘bush war’. Against the backdrop of the rise and fall of Ian Smith’s Rhodesian rebel state (1965-1980), Soldier Blue tells the story of an English boy who grew up in Africa, a soldier who fought, and a dissenter who struggled to define himself against such a backdrop. 


Sometimes you can’t choose your own battles. Paul Williams’ superbly written memoir of coming of age in Rhodesia explores his experiences as a young conscript caught up in the bush war of the late 1970s. This is a compelling, touching and often humorous account of growing up in a straitlaced, racist society and the absurdity of fighting for a dying regime.


The ugliness of the conflict, the trauma of transformation, the agonies of conscience of the writer, the beauty of the landscape: all are captured here in brilliant detail. Threading through the narrative is the story of Williams’ obsessive infatuation with the enigmatic, sharp-tongued Bianca Pennefather, who leads him on a painful emotional and spiritual journey. Looming over this fragile world is the grotesque experience of the battlefield, where young soldiers like Paul Williams inexorably shed their illusions and lost their youth.


 This is a vivid story of coming of age in a country falling apart, told with wry, dry, self-deprecating honesty.