Wednesday 28 July 2010


My writing advice is brief (although, longer than I anticipated.) It is as brief as the writing credentials on my, newly written, writer’s CV. 

 WRITE-IT'S-WEDNESDAY’s posts will be on the subject of writing.  Eyes, ears and smiles, this way? Then we are ready to learn.        (Do you think I’m missing the day job yet?)

What is today’s Learning Intention?
Today, we are going to learn how to start on the journey - the voyage called authorship.

My first piece of advice would be about preparation:
  • Think about the audience you want to reach.
  • The purpose of YOUR story.
  • The genre you intend to write
 At this point, have I mentioned READING? 

This kind of open sea, where with the stars and only a :
  •  sextant (historical),  
  • GPS (contemporary), 
  • divination crystal (fantasy), 
  • GR - galactographic register (SF) 
  • true love (romantic fiction)
to help you steer from beginning to publication, you are going to find these waters hard to navigate.

Typically, in your genre, what happens? Where? Why? To whom? How should your characters typically speak.

You need a reading journal and a pen.

You need to learn how to magpie.

Read lots books in the genre you are interested in writing, analyse them until you do know what typically happens. The typical helps you identify how to conform, but it also helps you work towards what could be your unique selling point.

While you are working out the answers to the questions above, copy the words and phrases you like (or hate) into your writing journal. These make excellent springboards, into your own pool of perfect sentences.

So my first writing tip: make like the magpie. The “collecting bright, shiny objects,” rather than the “attacking weaker creatures and the eggs of other bird’s” behaviour. (Oh, dear take that image to the wrong place: that would be bad, bad writer’s etiquette!)

Magpie! Doff your cap, show respect and borrow the insights and the wisdom of others.

Do you already know what, in your story, will be typical of the genre you are writing?


  1. Agreed! Epecially with the graph about reading lots and lots in the genre you're interested in writing in, but also, read across genres too because it can help your writing, technique speaking. My writing started to improve when I stopped reading only thrillers and commercial fiction and opened myself up to literary pieces.

  2. The three books I'm currently reading are:
    Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel
    Embers - Sándor Márai
    A Hunger Like No Other - Kresley Cole
    enough said!

  3. Yeah, I read a lot of what's in my genre but i also like to keep up with reading what's hot or in now too--just to keep me fresh. :)

  4. This is great advice, thanks Elaine! I especially agree with the idea of recording things you didn't like. Nothing inspires like the thought "I can do better than this drivel!"

  5. Definitely read everything you can, in all genres. "Travel" broadens one's horizons. Thanks for all of this good advice.

  6. Great post! Reading in the genre is SO important!

  7. Excellent advice! Almost everything I read is in my genre because I just love it so much. I don't think about it benefitting my writing, but you're absolutely right, of course it does.

  8. I didn't get a say in genre for either of my novels. The idea for each came to me, then fleshed itself out as I watched. The story I was given dictated the genre. Both times. And they're both different. I have one crazy muse!

    Thanks for the post!

    ~that rebel, Olivia

  9. Olivia
    Your muse likes to make your life complicated. ;)