If you’re a pantser like me, revising your manuscript might pose some interesting challenges. For instance, my current MS started as a kind of futuristic/Western/fantasy novel. After a while, the world and the story shifted into focus, and I found myself writing something very different to what I had started. I love having an organic … More A pantser’s guide to manuscript revision
Whenever I finish a manuscript, I have it printed and bound and add it to the pile beside my desk. There are four novels there now, in various states of completeness. I’ve been thinking recently about how they got there. Because, for as long as I can remember I’ve been writing, and for probably the … More On failing to write a novel for twenty years
Here are eight things that I have learned over the past few years about how to push a writing project through from concept to completion: 1. Work on multiple projects While this might not work for everyone, I find it helpful to have multiple projects underway at different stages. I generally have the following on … More Eight tips for writing from first draft to finished manuscript
What the hell happened last night? There was a bus trip and some guy I haven’t seen in years, and a room with too many people in it, and I was getting my hair cut… I woke up exhausted and the day hadn’t even started yet. Dreams can be powerful, memorable, and drenched with meaning. … More On writing dreams
In a previous post I talked about the importance of voice in fiction. Today I wanted to talk more about one particular narrative choice: first person narrator. The big ‘I’. A choice for beginner writers? I’ve heard it said that first person POV is often popular with beginner writers. Assuming this is true, I’d guess … More Whose story is this anyway? Explorations in voice Part 2: First person narrators
As an extension of the need to ‘write a shitty first draft’, I have found the concept of a ‘zero draft’ one of the most freeing and useful tools I have as a writer. Here’s how it works: Maybe you have a plan. Maybe you just have a vague concept. Maybe the voice of … More The Zero Draft: a big messy word-web for catching ideas
Really, honestly? If you’re somebody who, at some point each day, or on a decent proportion of your allotted days, sits down and picks up a pen or puts your fingers on a keyboard and strings words together of your own free will: why? It’s a strange thing to do. You do realise you’re basically … More Why write?
There are few more important decisions to be made when beginning a writing project than who will be telling the story. From who, comes how: a strong voice can capture a reader within a sentence or two, carry them through the many twists and turns of your plot, make them care what happens, and … More Whose story is this, anyway? Some thoughts on point of view and voice
I strongly believe that, if you’re ever going to write a book, let alone a decent book, you have to be willing to write a really, really shitty first draft. This is advice I read a few years ago and it’s stuck with me. I guess there’s a part of me that thinks: great, a … More On writing a shitty first draft
As a preface, I wrote this on the bus on the way to and from work today. On the way home I was doing a quick edit and the guy behind me kept laughing. Well I don’t think what I’ve written is anywhere near funny enough to warrant persistent laughter that isn’t some form of … More Progress report #2 – the NaNoWriMo Prep Edition!