Below I have listed my thoughts on the process of writing. I would stress these are my thoughts and as such carry no more weight than anyone else’s. I am referring specifically to fiction as I don’t usually write non-fiction these days.
Comments are welcomed and if I agree with any, then I might incorporate them into the main body (with reference).
Rules of Writing
- There are no rules
- See Rule Number 1
Guidelines for Writing
While there are no rules, you might want to at least consider these guidelines:
- You do not need any qualifications to write – no degree or course is necessary.
- It’s your story, write as much or as little as you wish. There is no set length for a story or a book. This is not an assignment from school. Write until the story is told and then stop. Please stop.
- Chapters can be any length. They must, however, be the right length.
- Your topic is YOUR topic. You don’t need permission to write about any topic or in any particular genre or in any particular style.
- First-person narrative or second or third-person are all allowed.
- They aren’t all equally good, but they are all allowed.
- What tense you write in, is up to you. Present, past or even future tense it’s your choice,
- See item 5.1 above.
- Don’t be afraid to do some research. Some things have to be accurate.
- Don’t get bogged down by doing too much research. Some things can be purely fictional,
- Take advice, but remember it’s just advice. The decisions you make are your decisions.
- Edit your work. At the very least your spelling and grammar should be as perfect as you can make them. And yes I know that’s not always purfect.
- Have people read your work. Take note of what they say. Don’t be offended if they don’t like what you have written.
- Writing can be difficult for all of us. Don’t add to the difficulties by, for example trying to write in a language you are not fully confident in.
- If you are writing in something other than your native language make sure your test-readers are native speakers of that language.
- Think very carefully about writing in something other than your native language. Are you really fluent? Do you understand the nuances of dialogue and slang? Do you know the rules of grammar, they are fundamentally different in every language?
Where or How do I begin?
This seems to be a common question, The simple answer is ‘at the beginning’, but note rule 1 above.
If you are really, really stuck for an opening, then try: ‘In the beginning…’ I know it’s been used before, but look how well that’s lasted.
What software should I use?
This is another common question. I use Scrivener from Literature & Latte. It does exactly what I need. Other people use all sorts from Word to Notepad. Use whatever you are comfortable with, there are lots to chose from, LibreOffice and Open Office are free and very well thought of. Or you could just use Notepad or its equivalent that comes with every computer.
It’s your choice.
One thing to always bear in mind. You should never pay a publishing house. If a publisher asks you for money or offers a contract that insists you buy a certain number of copies then THEY ARE VANITY PUBLISHERS and are only interested in what they can make out of you. Always get advice before signing a contract. Professional advice if you can afford it. Or search on-line for authoring organisations and see what other people are saying.
General Thoughts on Writing
If you write to make money, I suspect you would be better served by getting a proper job. 99% of writers do not make enough money to live on. Write because you want to. Write because you enjoy what you are doing. Write because you have a story you want to tell.
If you are writing for an audience then make sure you understand what that audience wants to read.
Be aware that almost every story has already been told. And if your book is about self-improvement or spiritual enlightenment or recovery from an addiction/depression/abusive childhood or relationship, then please research the field first. These things have all been done so many times before and unless you have some formal qualification in the relevant field you might actually give out wrong or harmful advice.