Why Will No-One Publish My Novel?*

How To Be A Writer

  1. Read. Read everything. Good books for style, bad books so you know what mistakes to avoid. My major influences are: Martin Amis, Bret Easton Ellis, Elizabeth Jane Howard, Fay Weldon, Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Penelope Lively, Antonia Fraser, Selina Hastings, Jilly Cooper, Virginia Woolf, Stephen King, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Jonathan Franzen, Philip Roth and too many others to mention. The more you read, the better your vocabulary will be and consequently the better your writing will be.
  2. Write every day. I blog every day and this gives me the confidence to know that I can write whenever I sit down to do it. Have a pen and paper next to your bed and write down your dreams when you wake up. Write before you listen to the news or read anything by anyone else. If you’re stuck: do some automatic writing. Set a timer for ten minutes and just write whatever comes into your head. Don’t let your hand leave the paper. You’ll be surprised at what you produce.
  3. Walk. I thought of this morning’s poem on the walk back from the gym. Dickens and Virginia Woolf used to take long walks. Walking makes the brain produce Inspiration.
  4. Inspiration can strike at any time. Always keep a pen and notebook with you. I’ve written on trains, buses, waiting for a play or film to begin, waiting at stations or bus stops.
  5. If Inspiration fails, try a change of scene. Travel and experiencing new things can act as a catalyst for new ideas.
  6. Write in cafes, restaurants, on the beach or in the park.
  7. Impose a deadline by promising to send a friend two thousand words or so. This will make you produce something.
  8. Plan, but know that your story will shape itself, often spiralling into unexpected scenarios. Your characters will take on their own lives and surprise you.
  9. Have a calm, quiet, clear space in which to write.
  10. When Inspiration is absent, edit. Dostoyevsky wrote eight drafts of The Idiot. It never hurts to go through your writing with a red pen, taking out info dumps and extraneous adverbs.
  11. Experiment with different styles of writing. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to write a radio play or a film script. Give it a go. I wrote fiction for years, then a Memoir and now I mainly write poetry. It’s all worth writing.
  12. Get angry about something and then write about it. Good writing often comes from a sense of injustice, railing against the unfairness of the world.
  13. On public transport, write down conversations that you hear. This will improve your dialogue no end.
  14. Watch television. Some of the best writing these days is for television and it will help you with structure, plotting, suspense and endings.
  • Read books on how to write. Stephen King’s On Writing is wonderful. Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey is worth a look. Dorothea Brande’s classic Becoming A Writer is great, as is Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down The Bones. I lent my Scarlett Thomas Monkeys With Typewriters to Hannah years ago and she still has it, so that’s a recommendation. Fay Weldon has just published Why Will No-One Publish My Novel? Which is bound to be wonderful.
  • Hope this helps.
  • Happy Monday everyone!
  • *2018. By Fay Weldon. Book of advice for the rejected writer.


    1. Christopher · April 15, 2019

      Hmmmm ☺

      I especially like points 12 and 14

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Christopher · April 15, 2019

      A lot of what you say applies to non-fiction too

      Liked by 1 person

      • waternymph88 · April 15, 2019

        I. Know. I write non-fiction too. Just started working on a game-changing new project 💫

        Liked by 1 person

        • Christopher · April 15, 2019

          And non-fiction rarely suffers when fiction-writing techniques are used (apart from making things up of course)

          Liked by 2 people

        • waternymph88 · April 15, 2019



    3. Catwoods · April 15, 2019

      These are all excellent suggestions! I especially like the one about conversations. I find it difficult to do myself but I think writing really pulls readers in when it captures the ways and rhythms of real people talking.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. L. Rorschach · April 15, 2019

      I’ve heard great things about the Stephen King book and have been wanting to read it. Adding it to my list!

      Liked by 1 person

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s