Advice from Authors

Gillian Cross

Thoughts on Writing

Everyone writes in a different way, of course. And that doesn't matter a hoot. The only thing that matters is the piece of writing that comes out at the end. The most crucial thing is to find what works for YOU, and not to be intimidated by other people's methods. Here are a few of mine.

  1. Enjoy yourself. If there are boring bits in what you've written, take them out and try and work out what ought to be there.
  2. Experiment. Take risks and try things that no one's written before. You'll probably fail nine times out of ten, but the tenth time makes it all worthwhile. Copying other people always feels safer, but it's very limiting.
  3. Write what you want to write. It's no use looking over your shoulder and trying to pleas other people. That doesn't work. But make sure other people can understand what you write. Remember - they can't see inside your head.
  4. Think about the shape of what you're writing, as well as the words and sentences. (One of the things I like most about writing is the way the structure of the book gets stronger as I rewrite it.)
  5. Play with the ideas before you start to write. Ask yourself how things would look from a different viewpoint, or if one of the characters was a different sex, or if it all happened in a different place.
  6. But when you finally decide what you're doing, then stick to it and give it all you've got.
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