This was initially posted in July 2012 and my approach to writing has moved on however a lot of it is still valid.
I will post it as it was and will move onto how my writing has changed in later blogs.
I wouldn’t pretend to tell people how to write a book, all I can do is tell you how I write mine There are many creative writing courses out there and many more self help books. The only one I’ve really bothered with is the excellent ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. Part biography, part writing masterclass, it gives a fascinating insight into how he goes about his craft.
They say that everyone has a book in them and I believe this to be true to a greater or lesser extent. Whether the book inside everyone makes into onto paper is another matter altogether.
I think there are only three things you need to write a book, an idea, a notebook and the will to write it.
An idea can come from anywhere. A dream, a tv show, a film, staring out of the window of a bus or even from another book. I don’t mean you should steal ideas but they should give you a spark. Jot down the ideas and see where they take you. I came up with a great idea for a science fiction novel in my sleep the other night. I have no interest in science fiction nor do I know anything about it. I’ll see if I can incorporate it into a mainstream novel and if not I’ll pass it on to somebody else to make their fortune.
I have two notebooks and I have recently taken the bold technological step of using Evernote on the i phone however I do prefer the romance of a notebook.
My notes are mainly one line scribbles, they could be childhood memories or just things that happen in my everyday life. If they interest me, they may interest somebody else. I may never use them but it’s always worth jotting them down.
I’ve always been told to write about what I know and I find this works for me. If I tried to write about subjects I had no interest in, I believe it would be obvious to the reader.
The idea might be the start of a book, it might be the end, sometimes I’m lucky enough to have both. Whatever the idea is, I just start writing. I try to set myself a target such as 1,000 words per sitting. Quality doesn’t matter at this stage, quantity is the key. It will be edited later. The first draft of Leg It! was 125,000 words, the final draft was 83,000.
Despite writing a novel, a blog and having Facebook and Twitter accounts promoting myself, I am a very private person. I hate anybody reading my work until I think it is ready so if I was sharing a computer, I would always password protect my work.
Some say that starting a book is the hardest part although the number of half finished stories on computers around the world would suggest the opposite.
That is why Part 2 of How I write will be about what I consider the hardest part, gaining momentum.