I had promised to post a new set of three authors offering writing tips every Friday evening but this is the second time in a row I have forgotten to do so. Hmmm… Maybe I should just promise to post every Saturday? Or even better, forgo the promise… I know what I’ll do.
New announcement: I have long thought the advice offered to aspiring writers in answer to question ten of my Ten Terrifying Questions deserved a vehicle of its own. Well, here it is. I shall post the advice of three very different writers every [mumble mumble]. Is that clear? Every [mumble mumble].
Bit of history: On March 1, 2010 I posted the first of the Ten Terrifying Questions author interviews. Since that date I have posted over 200 interviews with authors ranging from mega selling global stars like Jackie Collins and Lee Child to brilliant, relatively unknown debut authors such as Favel Parret and Rebecca James.
Q. What advice do you give aspiring writers?
“Write what you yourself love to read. If you love poetry, don’t try to write a thriller because you think you’ll make money. Or if you like more cerebral works of fiction, don’t try to write a romance. Fans of those kinds of books can spot a fake in ten seconds flat (and writing the wrong kind of book will quickly become a chore, not a labour of love).
If you write what you enjoy reading yourself, not only will every writing session be a joy (I love sitting down at my computer and writing the biggest, baddest, most outrageous action stories I can think of), but readers will detect your enthusiasm and warm to your work. Money and glory are not the end goals of writing—appealing to those who like your kind of book is.”
“To always carry a pad and biro, everywhere, plus keep a diary. To always put anything they write away in a drawer for at least a month, then read and edit it. To assess the time-wasting factors in your life, e.g. watching crap on t.v., verbal diarrhoea on the ‘phone, cut them out, and use that time to write. To only write about what you know about.”
“The inner critic is your worst enemy. Find the mute button, or you’ll always be thinking, ‘One day…’
One day is today.“
About the Contributor
John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for the last twenty years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Head of Product and Chief Buyer at booktopia.com.au.