Writing inspiration


Inspiration ideas for writers - graphicWriting a novel is hard work. Until you try it, you might not fully appreciate just how much effort goes into a full-length manuscript. The first novel I wrote was a 200,000 word sci-fi tale about a bunch of astronauts returning to Earth (after months in suspended animation) only to discover that everyone had had the bad grace to die (cue deserted London streets and deathly silence and rats and the stench of bodies, etc).


As I recall, the book took a couple of months to complete, and when it was done I realised that it was too big (and a
half). But I didn't want to cut it, partly because I was mentally exhausted, and partly because having just written it, the last thing I wanted was to take a hatchet to it (can you spot an immature writer anywhere in the vicinity?).

So I started another novel. Which might sound odd, until you understand that each novel you write has a certain amount of energy and enthusiasm attached to it (or embedded in it). So I cruised on that for a while and somehow managed to grope my way through the second book (this time a private-eye story; it took just a month. Something of a personal record).

Then, on book three, things got shaky. That energy and enthusiasm petered out early on and I was stuck. Blocked, if you prefer. I should have paced myself better. I didn't realise then just how easy it was to lose 'the writing buzz', and when it's gone (with respect to a particular book), it's hard to get it back.

But it can be done.




Want to read more?

There are over 25,000 words of writing tips and advice on my website. I've spent months writing these pages, and years refining them. I'm happy to share my professional knowledge with you. But like everyone else, I need to capitalise on my skills and efforts.


For just 1.99 I'll send you my entire MR EDIT'S WRITING ADVICE FOR AUTHORS as a .pdf file. Just follow the link below, or above, and you'll be taken to PayPal. You don't need an account; just a credit card or a debit card.


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Either way, you'll receive 25,000 very helpful words that will make you a better writer, will give you fresh insight into your work, and will improve the chances of a literary agent or publisher accepting your manuscript.






Mr Edit YouTube videos


Meanwhile, here are some of my You Tube videos that might be of interest to you. Hope you enjoy them.

You Tube video for writers and authors


Mr Edit. Let's talk about dialogue





You Tube literary agent video help


Mr Edit. Pitching fiction to a literary agent.





You Tube video - how to write fiction


Mr Edit. 5 Minute Fiction Fix.





You Tube video for authors and novelists


Mr Edit. Let's talk about tautology.






Links for writers


Preditors & Editors. Here's where you can check out the credentials of literary agents and publishers. A must for any writer.



Creative Helps. Helpful resource for the creative community. Articles, links and tips.



Nick Daws' Writing Blog. Lots of useful posts on all aspects of writing, both for print and online, plus a guest post for anyone who wants to make a contribution. Check it out.







Creative writing




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Zo Sharp, thriller writer

Zo Sharp, creator of the

action-packed Charlie Fox series of books

Jeff Kleinman, literary agent

Jeff Kleinman, New York literary agent, talks shop

Creme de la Crime logo

Crme de la Crime:

An interview with

Lynne Patrick,

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Inspiration tips


Tip 1
Set a daily goal, and achieve that goal. Just force yourself into the habit of writing something. If you haven't got the motivation to boot up the computer, just scratch some stuff on a sheet of paper. It might be an idea for your novel, or a scene, or some character detail; just write it. Push the story on. Keep it moving.


Tip 2
If you travel on a train or bus to work, try writing on the move. It's another cheap ploy, but the act of physically moving along can help keep your mind moving along. It gives you the very real sense that you're not staying in the same place - which is what you're fighting against. Stagnation. So if you can't move mentally, try moving physically. It might work.


Tip 3
Remind yourself daily that your favourite authors are ultimately as ordinary as you or me. Yes, they achieved the success you've been craving for. But they're all just people with the same anxieties as yourself. I've met a number of celebrities over the years, and what unites them is their ordinariness. Writers are no different. They're just people. Fallible. Riddled with doubt. Prone to fits of despair. But such professional authors got to where they are by sheer hard graft and dealing with negativity. Follow their lead.


Tip 4
Try comedy. Good comedy is intelligent writing. Good comedy also releases tension. So if you have a comedy club nearby, try a regular night out. If not, rent a comedy film (something that you know is going to make you howl with laugher). And after the comedy. Writing induces tension, so release that tension in whatever way you reasonably can (yes, try that too ...)


Tip 5
If you feel the creativity-well drying up, stop and look back through your novel for the source of the problem. Often, your subconscious mind has spotted a problem that's sapping your enthusiasm. Sometimes a simple amendment to the manuscript can really refresh it. Or it may be that your character's motivation is weak. Or you may have overlooked a crucial twist, or fact. If you isolate that and rectify it, the rest of the novel instantly feels stronger and refreshed. In short, your lack of creative energy may really be due to something you think you've put behind you rather than a fear of what lies ahead. When I'm finding it hard to move forward, sooner or later I start looking back, and as often as not I spot the problem. So look ahead constantly, but keep an eye on your tracks.


Tip 6
Work out specifically what you're trying to achieve in a section of your writing and check that you've achieved that. This goes back to Tip 1. If, for instance, you need to move your character from point A to point B, ask yourself if you've achieved this objective. If you have, move on (later, you can firm up the soft spots). But a methodical approach like this might reveal that you simply haven't achieved what you set out to achieve.

You might consider actually writing down your goal at the beginning of each chapter. For instance; In this chapter, my hero discovers that he's being stalked by a work colleague and realises that he's in a very vulnerable position ... You can add to this. But just make sure you've ticked off the main points. And once you've achieved this, mark it down as a success. That means literally mark it down.

Goal achieved. Write the note (or notes) at the end of each chapter. You can remove them later, or leave them on your back-up copies (you do have back-ups, don't you?)


Tip 7
Rejection is the norm, not the exception. You may find your enthusiasm being sapped because, halfway through your second novel, you've just received a rejection on your first. It's like having a puncture. It's deflating. Dispiriting. All you can do is be positive and tell yourself that that rejection, paradoxically, has taken you another step closer to your goal. See But they rejected me!


Tip 8
Cut the clever stuff (I need reminding of this daily). By this, I mean reduce the smart, hip, cool writing and focus on the story. Most writers show-off at some time or another. But this self-aggrandizing can be counter-productive. You need to be a little more humble and businesslike. If you've got a truly great phrase or piece of dialogue, of course you should use it. But don't let being a smart-ass get in the way of forward momentum.

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