Sunday 7 October 2012

5 tips

I was asked for 5 tips for the aspiring novelist, to which I replied thusly:

5 tips for the aspiring novelist, eh? I don't think I've ever been an aspiring novelist so it's hard to say. How about 5 things I did writing-wise that may or may not be of interest.

i)-- don't write because of something you want to be or some place you want to get. Write because right now, this moment, you need to. ...For the minutes or hours you're writing, the thing in front of you should be the most important piece of fiction you've ever written.

ii)- be honest, call upon yourself, write as if you're the only one who will ever read this - risk ridicule and misunderstanding.

iii) join a critique group and develop skin thick enough to take the sting from contrary opinions whilst being sufficiently thin to admit any persistent lesson.

iv)- consider your work on both the grand and small scale. Story is important, plot and character are important, but so is each line. There's a power in the language that can be exploited in almost every sentence to propel a reader on.

v)-- if your writing doesn't move you, it won't move anyone. It's incredibly difficult to push strong emotion through into another human's head simply by the ordered depression of plastic letter keys. If, added to this difficulty, what you're writing isn't even important to you ... well, let's just say it won't end well!


  1. I've found this fifth point particularly helpful when writing. I've tried so many different genres because that's what I've heard you should do when starting out. Problem is, I'm only really passionate about one of them, and so whenever I write something other than what I love, it sucks. I end up waisting time and energy on stuff that, while written okay, doesn't move me.

    Thanks for the post! Jorg especially has shown me that it's okay to be honest while writing. I no longer care what people think about me or my work--only that it is true to myself, and crafted as well as I can make it.

  2. Some good points. I think that if you want to write something well, you need to forget about what everyone else will think. Write for yourself. Write what you want to read, and you'll feel much freer to write without any restrictions.

  3. Thanks Mark! This is extremely useful. Your books are brilliant demonstrations of this; honest, moving, your prose in every sentence... Thank you once again.