Friday, 16 October 2015

Snippets of advice

It's been a head-down-and-write sort of a month. Not all novel writing, though, as other writing commitments have imposed upon my time. But with all those out of the way, I'm looking forward to a surge ahead, with a plan to complete the first draft of my latest Esme novel by the beginning of December. There - I've said it out loud. I'll have to stick to it now!

During this 'other writing' process, I was searching amongst my files for something and came across a folder of clippings from past issues of Writing Magazine. Over the years, some of the most helpful and inspiring articles I've read were interviews with authors, which Writing Magazine does rather well, and I've built up quite a collection of them. As I'm sure you'd agree, I've always found reading about the different ways writers tackle their work to be most enlightening.

This folder, however, was particularly relevant to me at the moment, as it was full of small cuttings of authors' comments about the novel writing process. I'd taken a highlighter to those quotes I'd liked best.

Some were practical, "when I'm researching I make notes and then I have little plot ideas that I write in the margin"  or, "before turning off my computer, I write down what's going to happen tomorrow in the story." 

Some were more philosophical, "you've got to come up with a story that means something to you, that comes from within."

One, of which I'm especially fond, likened the process to eating a meal. "The opening of a novel should be a delicious and irresistible appetiser, rather than a heavy main course."

Another was very heartening to read, as the author admitted, "Often I end up going round in circles." Tell me about it!

One author said, "the best piece of advice I ever got was, if you are going to be a writer, get your head down and write."

So, if that's not a stern prompt that I should stop blogging and get on with that half-written first draft, I don't know what is!

But I shall end with my favourite quote and one with which I strongly identify. However much planning and preparation I do before I start (and I do loads), it's always the case that, "the story takes life once you start writing."

That, for me, is the most exciting part of writing a novel.

Do you have a favourite quote from an author about their writing process?


  1. The one I've got written in large letters near my computer desk is 'A writer is a person who WRITES!' I came across it many years ago in a book about writing by the novelist John Braine (I added the capital letters and exclamation mark).

    I've tried all sorts of tips and ideas for improving both the quality and quantity of my writing. Some have been useful, some haven't, but seeing this quote every day reminds me that I have to get some words out of my head and onto paper or computer - somehow!

  2. So true, Linda. As we all know, you can't edit an empty page! (One of my favourite quotes and always sure to a spur me into action.)