Quick and Dirty



1: At my first horror convention, I attended a two-day writing course, one of the few things our teacher told us never to do is to bang on about the weather. No one cares. Never open with the weather, never wax lyrical about the sunrise. Lazy and boring.

2: Stephen King talks about this in his excellent guide, ‘On Writing’. When writing dialogue only ever use the tag: he/she said. Avoid things like, ‘he said quietly’, ‘she laughed’, ‘he coughed’, ‘he mewled’, ‘she sighed’. Actually, I try to avoid the ‘he said, she said’ all together and show simple body language and movement instead.

3: Only experienced writers with proven track records can say their writing is good, for the rest of us, zip it until you’re a best selling author.

4: There’s nothing worse than an over-inflated ego. Angels will not weep at your prose and you seriously have to get a grip. The amount of authors I know with a god-complex would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

5: Grow thick skin. You will have to deal with rejection and critique. It’s essential for growth. Submit your work and prepare the pile of rejection letters. Nobody will love you at first, but that’s okay, you don’t need someone else’s love to define you.

6: Write everyday. Even it’s only for five minutes.

7: Read lots. Read everyday. Not just books, but articles, poems, essays. Read. Read. Read.

8: If you’re just starting out, then remember this, if nothing else. It takes time. And I mean years.

9: Active voice, baby. Bin the passive.

10: Always write for yourself, to hell with anyone else. Someone, somewhere, will get you. Just keep on tying.


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