Writing Tips


For Post 7 in the Indie Block Party the topic is: Share your most helpful writing tips and advice. What do you know now that you wished you had known when you started writing?

I always say that I wish that I had known that completing my first novel overnight wasn’t guaranteed or required. It’s been 13+ years and publication is just a few months away.

So for all you wannabe writers out there, with that one book crying out to be written, I need to say that it can take a lot of sweat and patience, plus discarded ideas and words, especially if all criticism is taken on board. But it’s all worth it. There are amazing moments especially when words flow and visions come to life on the page. Just give yourself time and don’t rush the creative process.

Tip 1: Learn the craft well. Writing is a craft that we all spend years perfecting, in fact for a lifetime. As wiser people than I have said, the best writers are always learning and consciously improving. Never stop studying your craft.

Tip 2: Be There. These words are posted beside my computer to remind me to live in my writing. Feel your surroundings as your characters do. Immerse yourself in the same way that you want the reader to be captivated. Leave the objective, critical, internal nit-picker locked away until the editing stage. Starve him somehow so he’ll work harder later.

Tip 3: Why? Posted on my wall under ‘Be There’. As a journalist I was often told to use the five Ws in the first sentence of the newspaper story, even if it was an outdated technique by then.  Who, What, When, Where and Why i.e. who is it about? What happened? When did it take place? Where did it take place? Why did it happen?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Ws

For me this has been simplified to Why? – in the sense of Why is this happening? Why is the character doing this? Why am I changing scenes? Why am I using these words. Not all the questions but the best ones start with ‘why’.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tip 4: As they say in acting – Is your character always in character? Is your character always in the moment? Best explained at: http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/small-actions-deeper-character-better-scenes/

Tip 5: Write that first draft as fast and furiously as the inner muse unleashes the words that she wants to inspire you with. Again don’t let the internal editor hold you back.

Tip 6: Take regular breaks, walk around the house… or in my case wheel myself around. When we move to our bespoke home it will be far easier to go outside, without changing wheelchairs and lifting them around corners. So my advice is mix writing with gardening perhaps, anything to move around as well as write.

Tip 7. Rewards: Not exactly the last one but the point at which the experts move into the wings. I could only add that beyond my writing I know that I will be rewarded with something I enjoy. For some of you that might be coffee, a muffin, chocolate or a shower, but for me it is escaping into another world playing some MMORPG.


Have I done enough to go now, please?

Okay, guess not.

Here a few links to interesting articles that I have read in the last few days.




There are various sites I use including:




And as a crime writer:



Finally a site that I have just discovered and started subscribing to:


And for other invaluable hints, why not visit the other Indie Block Party participants:


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