The journey of a writer

They do say everyone has a book in them, unfortunately most people never bother because they worry or don’t believe they could put pen to paper.

If you have been thinking of writing or may of even started and shelved the idea like I did for years, the best thing I can say to you is start, if you have a story or an idea for a story, just write it, the good thing these days with computers and word processing is you can edit and alter it as much as you like.

It seems many people worry about grammar and pronunciation so feel their work will look bad, well although I have a pretty good command of English and was taught relatively well, my grammar and pronunciation is not prefect either and I will no doubt be correcting my first draft when I go through it again even though I have checked each chapter as I finished it.

I’ve always been very open with my writing and not making out I’m someone I’m not and under no illusion of the amount of work I will have to do once the story or book is on paper I also still learn on a daily basis what best way to approach each aspect of the process of turning an idea in my head into a readable and ultimately desirable book.

So what have I learnt at this stage of getting my first draft of Past Tense on paper.

The first and I believe the most important is write it, don’t spend to much time thinking about it or researching details, get in down on paper or the computer and out of your head, I found this the most useful piece of advice and is why I have the first draft done, yes it does need padding and yes it will need the grammar and pronunciation checking but it’s sitting quite happily on my computer rather than in my head for the first time, that in itself is an achievement.

If your on Twitter follow other writers and authors, not only because they write fantastic books but they give out fantastic information and advice, getting your story on paper was a comment made by Nat Russo and others on Twitter and I followed his lead and I’m so pleased I did, he also give lots of little gems of advice about writing, lookout for the #writetip hashtag on Twitter as many of them use this for tips on writing.

The more I read these days or even watching films I am looking at the format, how they keep the readers or watchers interest and the twists and turns in the plot.

I don’t like predicable films and books so I don’t write predicable plots and love the “I didn’t see that coming” scenario, back in the 1980s There was a US series called Columbo, and although he was portrayed as a bumbling detective always got his killer, but the plot was brilliant and not once could I ever second guess who the killer was, very clever stuff.

I for one like a good action film, in some cases fifteen minutes into a film I may turn it over if it hasn’t captured my interest, same with a book, I remember one I started reading and maybe one chapter in I put it away, again I got bored reading it.

So this needs to be addressed in what you write such as ending a chapter or section with the reader wanting to find out what happens next, a cliff hanger, again thanks to Nat Russo he says never finish a section or chapter with an end leave the reader wanting more.

Also last night I found the blog of author Paul Dorset, who suggests dropping the build up of characters and the plot at the beginning and go in with action, start with something that will hold the reader right from the start, after reading this I myself looked at my first draft and decided the first ten pages were in fact quite boring and not really necessary at the beginning, I can use this further into the story.

This is quite obvious when you think of the way some action films start and keep up the pace all the way through, books too can use this format well.

A couple of things I need to sort out on the computer is firstly an English spell checker, mine is US English and constantly pulls words such as colour as it is looking for the US spelling color, this I need very soon as my spelling is not 100% I may of inadvertently used US English spelling for some words, which although not a problem consistency is, I also check spelling on Google for some words and to clarify meaning.

My other big problem and because I write fast is placement or words, that is using the wrong word such as placing you instead or your, or drug instead of drum, a spell checker won’t pull this as they are both real words so only proof reading will help with this, I read each section I have written out loud, this not only helps find these rogue words but also with grammar and pronunciation.

I will be having the finished book professionally checked for errors as I will really be wanting the first book to be right, already I am thinking of a book cover and again will be going to a professional for this.

Beyond that I haven’t thought about, as I have enough going on for the moment.

To find out more about the authors I have mentioned in this article, check out the links below.

Nat Russowww.nat-russo.com or on Twitter @NatRusso

Paul Dorset, http://blog.pauldorset.com or on Twitter @jcx27

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