How to Write Fiction

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 November, 2011, 12:00am


How to Write Fiction
by Various
Guardian Books (e-book)

How to Write Fiction will allow wannabe novelists to delay, for a few hours at least, starting that book they've always wanted to write. But they shouldn't put it off forever. Jill Dawson, one of many published authors whose advice is included within the covers, says: 'Success or failure can both be avoided by never starting at all - this then is the spell that procrastination casts.' If that doesn't set fingers tapping on keyboards, there is guidance from others that might do, including Kate Grenville, who suggests sparking the creative process by writing non-stop for 60 seconds: you could improvise about yourself, with the prompt 'I remember', or about a dream. Andrew Miller underscores the importance of strong characters, who he says are at the heart of all great literature. D.B.C. Pierre, author of Vernon God Little, reminds writers of the old catchphrase: 'Show, don't tell', which he says applies particularly to dialogue. Speech in writing works better tight than loose, he says, because 'in the reading brain, economy is natural'. Wise words from a Man Booker prize winner.