19th July 2013 — About Writing

So you want to write a novel and get it published?

If you want to write and be published, then you should already have read a great many books. Read more. Read when you’re not writing. Yes, I know life gets in the way and reading takes time, but it’s an essential part of a writer’s life.

Sit down and start writing.  Here is the same advice – and more –  from a wise and wonderful writer, Maeve Binchy.

Decide when you write best. I’m a lark. I start early in the morning. Some people are owls. Whichever you are, find a routine and stick to it.

Turn off the Internet while you’re working. If you want to check something online, do it later.

Feed your unconscious. Read before you go to sleep.

Always carry a notebook and pen. You think you’ll remember that great idea you had when you were driving. You won’t. Better to pull into the side of the road and write it in your notebook.

Read writers on writing. Here’s a list. (Not in order of importance. They’re all worth reading, in my opinion. I will add to the list when I remember/find another good book about writing.)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King
Aspects of the Novel  - E. M. Forster
The Anatomy of The Novel – Marjorie Boulton
How Fiction Works – James Wood
13 Ways of Looking at the Novel – Jane Smiley
The Practice of Writing – David Lodge
The Writer’s Voice – Al Alvarez

Becoming a Writer – Dorothea Brande
Elements of Style – William Strunk Jr & E. B. White

Not by writers, but essential for understanding the publishing industry:
From Pitch to Publication – Carole Blake (This will tell you all you need to know about the publishing industry and how to prepare a  book for publication.)
The Writers’ and Artists’ Year Book (This is where to look for a an agent.)

I’m now going to obey one of my own hard-learned lessons. The world wide web is a wonderful time waster. You’ll get more work done if you disconnect the internet while you are actually writing your novel.