Wednesday, 15 January 2014

How to REALLY write that novel!

If your New Year's Resolution is to get writing, I have a hot tip. (I have several, in fact, in not one but two easy-to-read and practical books which you can buy here and here.)

Unfortunately, today's hot tip occurred to me too late to be included in either of the aforementioned tomes. Which is a pity really, as I'm beginning to think it's probably the single most important piece of advice I could give an aspiring writer. It might even be the writer's holy grail, I don't know. But I'm certainly impressed.

In order to reveal it I need to explain something of the background to this revelation. Years ago when I started writing my first book I didn't tell anyone what I was doing. A small part of this was borne of modesty, but mostly it was fear of failure as well as a desire to avoid distressing friends and family all of whom would (and probably still do) flee in mental terror from the thought of being pestered, bored and prevailed upon to read, comment and then extol the (rather limited) virtues of my modest literary musings.

In short, I was a little bit ashamed. Until the thing was finished, I didn't have the brass neck to tell anyone about it lest they think I might come over all pretentious pseudo-novelist and start wearing a cravat. 

Now, of course, with half-a-dozen books under my belt, people actually ask me what I'm working on whether I like it or not. And that's proving to be the single biggest motivating factor as I scale the mountain of my next book.

Because I've been talking about my latest book since starting to research it last year. It began when I was interviewed on BBC local radio about writing and the host, Melvyn Prior, not unreasonably asked what I was currently working on. In the safety of the studio (nobody listens to local radio do they?) I blabbed. And I've been blabbing ever since.

It probably helps that it's a subject people seem genuinely interested in. World War One of course is big news this year and my book examines an aspect of the conflict hitherto overlooked. 

But to be honest, I'd tell people about it whether they were interested or not. Because telling everyone what you're doing means you've got to do it. Either that, of lose face. 

I'm sorry if this moment of epiphany is rather mundane. In fact, you probably knew it all along anyway. But I've only just discovered it which proves, if nothing else, that no matter how old or wise we are, we've all still some capacity for learning.

Now to get writing! Drink, anyone?

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