December 30, 2016 @ 9:31 AM

So what puts you on the staircase to successful authorship?

Here are the seven first steps I've found over the years that can make the climb easier from being a writer-in-waiting to a professional author.

In summary – and I'll expand upon them as we go:

1. Have something worthwhile to say.

2. Read widely.

3. Study how words work best for you.

4. Research your topic thoroughly (it’s the best part of any book).

5. Discipline yourself to write every day (I’ve a few good tips).

6. Write – and Rewrite (and then rewrite it again.)

7. Learn to love your editor (a good one is indispensible).


They’re not necessarily simple steps or quick ones. There&rsquo.........


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December 23, 2016 @ 9:47 AM

The profession of an author … Writing tips 8, from one of them

The only sensible way to approach the profession of writing is to treat it … as a profession. It is a craft – an art with its own techniques and disciplines that can be learned and practised.

These are things, given a modicum of talent, that in time may enable writers to express themselves – and readers to engage – with words in ways that are both artistically fulfilling and profitable.

From boyhood I’ve never forgotten my headmaster at school assembly repeating the aphorism that success is ten per cent inspiration and ninety per cent perspiration. It’s something, as a writer, I’ve always taken to heart.

Madam Muse is .........


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December 16, 2016 @ 12:42 AM

Never mind the Muse … Writing tips 7 from a professional author.

Every writer and would-be writer lives in hope that at least one of the nine Muses of Literature, Science and the Arts will suddenly appear and touch our words with the golden staff of eternal truth and instant commercial success.

With some eighteen books published over the past thirty years, I can tell you with some confidence that she’s definitely there, hovering somewhere in the shadows behind the shoulder as you sit at the desk. Twice in my career she’s delivered a book – already seeming fully formed – into my mind, and all I had to do was write it out, like taking dictation.

But I’m also able to say that the Muses are .........


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December 9, 2016 @ 3:41 AM


Where do you get your ideas from?

Writing Tips 6 from a professional author...

It's probably the one question most often asked of any writer ... of any artist, indeed, whose stock-in-trade is the expression of ideas and the human experience. The answer I think is quite simply stated ... though in reality it’s far more difficult to practice successfully or to convince others of its truth.

Yet the fact is that ideas for stories are all around us. In an interesting name you hear: Barnaby Rudge, say. In a word. I once came across the phrase 'spindrift of the past'. Spindrift. A good title for a book ... what does it mean? In an anecdote somebody tells you. Henry James made his living from such dinner .........


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December 2, 2016 @ 4:44 AM

Dream Books... Writing Tips from a professional author...

Quite apart from the day-to-day notebook carried around in the pocket or shoulder bag, there's another kind of journal that many writers – and other people – use. And that's a private 'dream book' kept beside the bed, rarely shown to anybody else, but in which to scribble those fragments of dreams and thoughts that linger after you've woken up.

They’re an immensely powerful and potent source of ideas. They can even transform your life.

I used to feel utterly alone in the cosmos, until one night I dreamed of a starchild uniting it all with our infinite human capacity for love and understanding. Whatever our individual catastrophes,.........


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