Tag Archives: how to find your writing style

Top 5 writing tips: PD James tips for writing novels #amwriting

Top 5 writing tipstop5


This week: PD James’ novel writing tips

The author PD James sadly passed away last month. She was an amazing woman. After having her first novel published in her forties, she never looked back, writing over 20 crime novels, many of which were adapted for film and TV.

Crime author PD James
Crime author PD James

She was a hard worker, the type of writer to simply get on with it. I discovered her novels through my father in law, and so when I heard of her passing, I looked up her works and found a web page interview where she talks of her top tips for writing novels.

Below, I have chosen my favourite five, ones that, to me, really resonate. To get a full list of PD James’ top ten, I’ve popped a link below. Read, enjoy. And write.

Top 5 PD James writing tips:

1. Find your own routine. Are you a morning person or evening? A lark or an owl? Figure out what time of the day you work best at and stick to it – you’ll be at your most productive. Works like a charm.

2. Read, write and don’t daydream. This one speaks for itself, although, don’t let the ‘don’t daydream’ bit put you off. This, to me, simply means don’t procrastinate. Daydreaming in its actual form can, in fact, help the creative process, aid the flow of ideas when, say, you are stuck on a tricky scene. Basically, just get on with it.

3. Never go anywhere without a notebook. Yup, deffo. Ditto iPhone with notepad function – works equally well.

4. Never talk about a book before it’s finished. Agree. Because it may change, you may edit it to within an inch of its life. Until you are certain you’re 100% happy (until an editor gets hold of it…) keep shtum.

5. Be aware that the business is changing. Publishing is different even from when I was a kid. To me, change is a good thing, something to be embraced and capitalised on. No moaning about e-books or self-publishing. Nope. Instead, simply say, ‘Oh, okay. Great.’ Then adapt and crack right on. The results may surprise you.


For the link to the interview with PD James for her full top ten tips, click here


Any top tips on cracking your writer’s style? Great! Share them with the group!

**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Top five writing tips: How to find your writing style #amwriting #NaNoWriMo2014

Welcome to my new post: Top 5 writing tipstop5


This week: Finding your style

This has to be one of the most confusing elements of being a writer, I think. Certainly, when you’re starting out, style is something that feels elusive, like something others have but you never yourself quite know how to get.

And so we often end up copying others we admire, try to emulate their style. I know I’ve done this in the past. But thing is, get your own style, nail your individual writing nuance and what you end up with is something every writer, publisher – and reader – wants: a unique voice.

So fear not! Here are some top tips that I used myself to help crack my style. Give them a go, see how you fair. Good luck.

1. Read a piece of your writing aloud and in your mind. Mark out any dodgy bits, anything that sounds clunky. Then rewrite, re-read aloud, see if it sounds better. Repeat several times until you get a flow.

2. Knock out those adverbs and adjectives. These are like parsley garnish on a steak – unnecessary. What they can do is cloud your real style. We use them because we think we have to, but we don’t. Challenge yourself.

3. Go a bit further with this and write a piece, say 500 words, with absolutely no adverbs or adjectives in. It will be tricky at first, but it will get you style flowing, dancing, almost, off the page. Honest.

4. Don’t write. Trust me. Instead, sit back and just close your eyes. Then think. Think what you want to say. Take your main character, for example, imagine what they have to talk about, what scene they are in. Visualise it, every turn, every nook, smell, sight.

5. Now open you eyes and write what you have just seen. Don’t dither, don’t doubt or question yourself, just get it out. Try this several times and see how you can reach a steady flow of your own style.


Any top tips on cracking your writer’s style? Great! Share them with the group!



**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**