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How to write a novel: five ways to get in the habit of writing

I recently wrote on how to write a novel: plan in advance or not?  (Links in bold italics are to other posts on this site.)  I quoted Stephen King, and Stephen Donaldson, whose main tip on how to write a novel was “start today”.

Maybe you would like to write a novel, or a story.  But you haven’t started yet.  You often say, or think “I’d like to write a story”.  But you never quite find the time.

People.  Start today.

Starting to write a novel can be difficult

Of course we all feel obstacles to writing.  We are busy.  We worry that what we write may not be good enough.  We don’t have the right computer, or the right software.  We are waiting until we have finished another project, until a child is older, until we change job, until the stars are aligned.  Starting to write is hard.

Here are five ways to get in the habit of writing. (more…)

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#howtowrite: 5 places ideas come from

You are an author.  You are about to sit down and begin to write a story.

How do you get started?  What will it be about?  Where do you get your ideas from?

As the author of eight novels and nine short stories*, I work hard to find ideas.  Here are my four sources of inspiration, and one non-source:

(i) my best source of inspiration is random ideas which pop into my head – when I am reading, walking down the street, in the shower, whatever.  These ideas have one thing in common.  I write them down.  Everyone has great ideas, all the time.  What makes a difference is keeping a note of them.  Maybe you are a genius and can remember good ideas indefinitely.  I can’t.  As soon as my mind wanders off – as it will – I forget my good idea.  Action point for writers: make a note when an idea strikes you and ensure you can find that note later.  Keep a notebook or web page where you store your ideas;

Some things are obviously inspirational.  This deserted children’s bumper car ride near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is crying out for a story

(ii) my second big source of ideas is external inputs.  If you read the piece about my hotel stories at the link above, (more…)

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