Category: Writing Tips

  • Research for Historical Fiction -3 Top Tips

    Research for Historical Fiction -3 Top Tips

    As authors, we create worlds which we want to be believable. In science fiction and fantasy, the world may be another planet or a dystopian future. In historical fiction this world is the past. Good research is the key.

  • Scrivener 3 – An Honest Review

    Scrivener 3 – An Honest Review

    Readers of these posts will be aware I’m a great fan of Scrivener – and now Scrivener 3 – as a writing tool. It enables detailed planning and has a really good system of structuring…

  • Conquer outlining using Scrivener and Scapple

    Conquer outlining using Scrivener and Scapple

    I’m a big fan of Scrivener as a writing tool and recently began outlining a new novel (the fifth in the Inspector James Given series). As always, procrastination took over and I searched for ideas on how to make the process easier. I found an exceptionally good video on outlining from Abbie Emmons, which is…

  • Mind mapping a novel

    Mind mapping a novel

    I don’t profess to be an expert in mind mapping, but there are plenty of posts out there to help if you need detailed info. However, I do use a mind map in the early stages of planning my novels so hope the following might be of some use. What is mind mapping? A mind…

  • The pen is mightier

    The pen is mightier

    Almost nine years’ ago my wife bought me a pen for my birthday from Brendan Bannon’s small shop in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. The body of the pen is bog-oak, estimated by Brendan as being between 2,000 and 6,000 years old, which means it fell to the ground to begin its preservation when the pyramids were being…

  • Character development

    Character development

    Why did my character say that? How often in creative writing workshops have you heard that it is important to make your characters come alive? Like most authors I’ve struggled with that over the years but let me tell you, when it happens it’s both exhilarating and problematic. I’ve plotted every scene of my current…

  • Finding a better killer

    Finding a better killer

    I was just running through the main plot of my new crime novel, A Patient Man, with my wife a few days ago and she pointed out some similarities to the motives of the killer in my last one. After arguing for a few moments and trying the ‘there are only so many stories and…

  • Number Three

    Number Three

    Finally. The writing of James Given number three has started. I’ve been plotting for a few weeks, and planning to start for much longer, but the actual words on the page have eluded me. True, there have been a few changes in my life over the past few months (selling the house, moving country, etc,…

  • Scrivener and multi-strand plots

    Scrivener and multi-strand plots

    It’s well known that Scrivener is one of the most versatile and useful programs around for creative writing, although it does take a little getting used to, and there are some annoying differences between the Mac version and the Windows version. Also the lack of an Android version is a distinct disadvantage if, like me,…

  • It wasn’t that bad after all

    It wasn’t that bad after all

    A month ago I was mired in writer’s block, or to put it another way, feeling so despondent about my current novel that my mind went blank every time I opened Scrivener. I’d been like that for months. At first I thought it was the usual ‘half-way-through blues’, my demons telling me it wasn’t good…