Category Archives: Writing Advice

22 Jan 2015

The Three Rules For Writing A Novel

So, having thought about and dreamt about being a writer for weeks/months/years, you finally decide to get on and do it.   But once you’ve decided to write, how do you decide what and how to write? "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”  W. Somerset Maugham Much as I love this quote – and its underlying message that writing rules can be vague…

07 Jan 2015

STOP Dreaming About Being A Writer

Happy 2015!  I bet that within the millions of New Year’s Resolutions made so far this new year, there are at least some that go like this: “This year I will start writing that book I’ve been thinking about.” “This year I will write more of that book I made a bit of a start on last year/the year before last/several years ago.” My advice to anyone who nods in…

16 Dec 2014

Going Off-Piste and Getting Dramatic

When you’re pursuing a goal it’s important to focus and press on hard towards it.  But sometimes going slightly off-piste on the journey can also be valuable. Unsurprisingly, my ADD tendencies are very happy with this approach, as is my contrary nature!  In order to improve my Young Adult writing, I could just pursue opportunities and courses related to YA.  However, that’s not always the best way to move forward….

18 Nov 2014

Beta-Readers and the Feedback Balancing Act

As soon as you tell people that you’ve finished the first draft of a manuscript, their inevitable question is “when can I read it?”.  The truthful answer – which always seems to surprise them – is “when it’s published” which still won't be for months/years.  Most people seem to think that as soon as a book is written, it’s ready. If only that were true!  The editing process almost always takes…

11 Nov 2014

Take A Break If You Want To Create

Holidays are usually the highlight of my year.  That’s not to suggest my life in between holidays is anything less than interesting, fun and challenging (in a good way!), but holidays are awesome. No matter what you can afford in terms of time or money, holidays – breaks from “normality” – are incredibly important.  Even just the act of getting on a train or plane and going anywhere is like…

27 Oct 2014

The Magic of Books – Inspiring and Instructing

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human…

20 Oct 2014

10,000 Hours To Expert

Expert (adjective): Having a great deal of knowledge or skill in a particular area. When I first started writing I had this idea, like a lot of other people no doubt, that I needed to be specially gifted to be a writer.  In order to succeed, an innate talent was required that, with a little nurturing, could be set free to wow the world.  When I began to give writing a…

06 Oct 2014

Gagging The Inner Critic

The Inner Critic is a nasty, picky, vindictive bully.  It’s that voice of criticism and disapproval in your head that slows you down or paralyses you when you’re thinking about doing something new and risky.  It’s such a recognised and major part of people’s psyches – especially those of creative people – that there are numerous articles and books about it, and you can go on courses to help you…

29 Sep 2014

Writing A Winner

When I scrolled through the list of competitions at the Winchester Writers’ Festival earlier this year, I never imagined for a minute that I’d find myself entering the Feature Article one.  For a start there were two children’s fiction categories that I could have entered B4 (codename) into, with very little effort.  More importantly, perhaps, was the fact that I hadn’t written a “professional” article before, although I suppose I…