Tag Archives: Advice

Writing books

I was thinking of giving a book about writing to a friend who often tells me she would like to write. The only book on the topic of writing that I can really remember enjoying was Stephen King’s On Writing. So I read it again just to make sure it was as good as my memory had built it up to be, and it was, but it was not really the right book for a writer who is only starting out.

I know there are a lot of books out there on grammar and correct prose, such as Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style, but I’m trying to find something that will take her to that next step in an entertaining way. A book that will warn her about the issues of point of view slips, too many ing words, fear of said etc. But one which will do so without sounding condescending or boring.  

And while we are talking about great writing books, there is another one I would like to give a plug to, and that’s Give ‘Em What They Want by Camenson & Cook –but that is around the business of selling books, so again it is probably a bit premature for that yet.

So please give me some suggestions about writing books that you have found both interesting and useful. I should also take this chance to say a big thank you to those in my two writing groups; because of you I’ve managed to learn a lot of these tricks directly from some very talented and imaginative people.

Writing the bit you see

I was reading a piece of advice from a writer which I have heard a million times before (and ignored every time). This time it occurred to me that maybe there was a reason why I kept hearing this advice? Maybe there was something to it and I should give it a go?

That advice was simply to write the scene in your novel that you see when you think of the novel, the bit you want to write. All of us have a scene we know will always make the final cut, even before the first word has been put to the page, that is the scene you should write when you are stuck on a novel.

As a chronological order writer it almost feels to me like cheating to skip ahead and write the scene that you cannot wait to get to. I feel like I need to earn the right to write it by first slogging through all the bits that get me there. The problem is often because of the slog, I never actually get there.

Maybe if you were to write this scene it would give you the motivation to bring all of the novel to life so you can give the scene a home? Perhaps having that scene tangibly written would let you read over it and reflect when you find yourself getting lost in the minutiae of the novel? Who knows what might happen, but it has got to be better than a half written story sitting in your bottom drawer.

I know that nearly half my blog readers are also writers, so I would love to hear from you about your experience with this. Have you done it? Do you always do it? Does it help? I’m also going to break my rules and give it a go as well on a scene from a novel which has not gone beyond chapter 5 in the past four years. The scene I’m thinking of is the pivotal, changing moment in the book, and I would love to see it come to life outside of my brain.

Let’s see what impact it has and I’ll let you know how I go.

Happy writing!