Writing is difficult. There is no way around that fact. Every time I sit down to write, I am reminded of how tough it is. Tough to find the time – away from a real a job and in many cases, the family – tough to have the conviction that what you are doing is worthwhile, and tough to put something on the page that doesn’t make you cringe five minutes after writing it.
Advice that can make the process easier is priceless. Here are four snippets I find useful:
Stephen King, in On Writing, challenges the would be writer to do just two things. Read a lot. Write a lot. You cannot write without doing both of those things. He suggests 1,000 words a day. 1,000 words a day delivers a first draft in three-four months. It’s not easy to deliver on that commitment but hey…I began by saying writing was tough.
There are times when the characters stop talking to you, and times when a promising plot fizzles on the page. The danger is running into an extended period of writer’s block. Margaret Atwood has the best answer to this. Hold your hand in the air and do not put it down again until you have a sentence to write. Then see how long the block lasts. Once the ache sets in, it’s never long, believe me.
I saw an interview with Terry Pratchett towards the end of his life. He was talking about the difficulty of writing, and he said that the thing you have to realize is that a good idea is the easy part, that translating that idea to the page and making it come alive is the challenge, and as a writer, it shouldn’t be easy, and you have to confront that head on, every time. Ideas are like tinsel, anyone can have an idea, it’s what you do with it that’s the important thing.
And finally, often I find my head with characters, plot jumbled, trying to remember what someone said, or who did what to whom. This I guess is my piece of advice. Expect that, and don’t let it frustrate you, and power on. It will come. As one of Raymond Chandler’s characters said, My head is as fluffy as whipped cream, but not as sweet. I think that just about sums up how I feel most days.
By bearing these things in mind, I have written and published two novels.
Hopefully you will find this advice useful too.
by Jude Houghton
Publisher: Grimbold Books
Publication Date: July 29th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, New Adult, Science Fiction
Balmoral Murraine works in a Battery, assembling devices she doesn’t understand for starvation pay. Pasco Eborgersen is the pampered son of an Elite, trying to navigate the temptations of the Pleasure Houses, the self-sacrifice of the Faith, and the high-octane excitement of Steel Ball. They are two strangers, who never should have met, and now they will rip apart the world.
What happens when ninety percent of the world lives on skaatch – a jellyfish and insect composite?
What happens when mankind spends more time in alternative life sims instead of in the “real” world?
What happens when economic interest is the sole determinant of global decision making?
What happens when a single secret is discovered that calls into question everything we have ever believed?
Welcome to the Autonomy. Welcome to your future.
About the Author
Jude developed a love of fantasy from a relatively early age after realising an innate talent for making stuff up could result in something other than detention. Working across the globe in fields as diverse as journalism, data entry, sales, management consultancy and babysitting, Jude has partially succeeded in putting an English and History degree from Oxford University to good use. A somnambulist, insomniac, lover of letters, Jude writes late into the night, most nights, tumbling down the rabbit hole to dream of other lives. Jude currently lives in Pennsylvania with an over-enthusiastic family and absurdly entitled dog.