Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Less is more?

I like your writing a great deal, and while the narrative is skilfully handled it just didn’t quite get under my skin sufficiently”

“Your manuscript displays strong writing abilities and you've created potentially interesting situations and characters”  

How can I turn "Nearly" into, “Yes, please?”

I get bowled over by details (the images and associations behind every interaction) they make me start and stutter. I know more than the reader needs to be told.
1 When it comes to details, less is more

Even with a plan and character descriptions, I re-think every scene, every day, before I write. Have you ever compared the time it takes to write a section, with how long it takes to read it back? 

2 Just write.

Once a month, I research the library lists, Lovereading4kids and agents’ lists of up-and-coming titles. Is there anything left to write that isn’t already out there? If the supermarket shelves show what was hot, does the car-boot sale show what will come again?

3 Write what you would want to read

I capture note books full of ideas, each one complete with a voice and hook. Shaping a work-in-progress should be a joyful thing. Why do new ideas conspire against old ones? When did ideas become a distraction?
4 Resist temptation, and finish. 
Short sentences are powerful. Long sentences let the writing flow and steer the reader down the page to ever more excitement. Fragments... really?  What do readers need from punctuation, except clarity?

5 You need to mix up the sentence lengths and let each type do their job. There are books and websites burstin' with information. Try to avoid breaking the rules of writing.

Editing, re-editing and revisions, I’ve read all the rules about how to re-master for the perfect manuscript. I chop and change until I mess up the voice. 
     6 Keep the writing simple, the plot controlled and the tension high 

Writing is a personal achievement, but not an insular pursuit.

The art and craft of writing is not all about the writing.

Are you feeling positive about your writing process?


  1. It is so hard to follow the rules of writing at times. Recently I rewrote my first novel using all tips I had been given. A NY agent has asked to read three chapters, and I realise by changing my method it has up the standard of my work. However, it hurt me to cut thousands of words, my lovely flowing sentences and 'dreamy' bits.
    I am feeling more positive than ever before, thanks to great supporters and teachers of the craft.

  2. Congratulations, Glynis Great news! Having a request for chapters from an NY agent must have made the pain worthwhile. You must be feeling positive at the moment;)

  3. Yes, "nearly" is such a frustrating place to be. And it doesn't end once you get something published. For me, it seems to come and go. I like your tips. I also use the energy of a new project, whether it be a new WIP or blogging or book to read, to jolt me into new energy.

  4. yeah, I've had nearly, too. But the one thing I think is true is that you can't write to trends, you have to write the story you want/need to write. The good news is that once you get to 'nearly' it means you're getting closer to 'there.'