During the promotion campaign for ‘Coal House’ I was asked through the Twitter account for the book if I have any writing tips.
Disregarding that I don’t know how qualified I really am to give advice, I will share some things that have been helpful for me.
Dismiss all you read about writer’s tips
I know, I know. But I have read so many, and all that each tell me is that these tips are helpful for that one particular person. And that’s great. But the number one thing I always find on these sorts of lists tends to be ‘close yourself off from distractions’ or some variation. It doesn’t work, life doesn’t stop, so you just have to embrace it. As that is generally the alpha tip, then, it stands to reason that not everything works for everyone. Find out what works for you, try and work out when you are at your most creative, and try and tune into that as much as possible if you can.
So many times I’m told when I’ve got writer’s block ‘Oh you should read’. And out of stubbornness, I never do. And then I do, and I find myself wanting to write again, because the block probably occurred from an accumulation of things I was trying to articulate but couldn’t because I was tired of words. Sometimes just reading one word will make me think ‘Bingo!’ and I’m back at it. Or reading some stream of consciousness and tuning into a thought that makes you realise you were looking at something you were writing the wrong way. Reading something else is – for me – the single best way to get over writer’s block, I just wish I wasn’t so stubborn that I had to go through the resistance every time.
I find it translates better from page to mind if you write a believable set of events. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t write something so extraordinary it can’t be true. You can write horror or science fiction or, well, any genre, where something that doesn’t exist in the real world does exist in your fiction story. But, what I have found helps me most of all is believable dialogue, believable reactions to events and conversation. It’s not necessarily easy to do and I’m by no means an expert, but if you imagine your characters and flesh them out in terms of what they would do or say in certain situations, you’ve developed them into real people before you know it, and that’s half the battle in telling a story that captivates the reader (in my opinion).
It’s not exhaustive and barely in-depth but these are three things are things that really do help me when I’m writing, and at least two of them aren’t things I read on suggestion lists. So I hope that helps.
Thanks for reading!