And as a writer, the main question I get asked (other than 'what are you doing, going through my bins?') is 'how do you write?' Well, dear reader, I'm going to answer that for you, and by following these simple instructions, you can become as good a writer as what I am.
Step 1 - Sit down
This is very important. If you do insist on ignoring this step, then I am obliged to warn you that you run the risk of back and wrist problems.
Now, you may be thinking, 'Yeah, it's alright for you, Mr Moneybags, with all your chairs, but what about me?' Well, sitting down is not as expensive as you might think. If you don't own any chairs, simply sit on the ground. Other cheap chair alternatives include milk crates, tree stumps or your partner/spouse.
|Hey! Get off your phone and start writing!
Step 2 - Find something to write on
Are you sitting down? Good. Step 2 is arguably more important than Step 1, because even though you may have all kinds of incredible ideas buzzing around your brain, what good are they if you have nothing to write them down on?
Ideally, you will need a laptop computer. It doesn't have to be state-of-the-art like mine (pictured below) but it should have a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, Open Office or Caxton.
|I've just got it hooked up to the interweb.
If you can't afford a computer, then a pen and paper will do. I would urge you to buy a pack of ten Bic biros, and at least a ream of paper, as research suggests that most bestselling novels are longer than ten pages.
Step 3 - Increase your WORD POWER
Everybody knows that a book is only any good if it has loads of words in it that you don't understand. This shows that the author has WORD POWER, and a far superior brain to you.
But they weren't born that way, they had to work at it. I myself read the Oxford English Dictionary from cover to cover at least once a week, which means that my WORD POWER is now really . . . proper . . . good.
If you can't afford a dictionary and are banned from your local library, then simply start watching Countdown.
|I never miss it.
Step 4 - Think of something to write about
Inspiration may strike at any time so always carry a notebook. If you cannot afford a notebook, the back of your hand and/or the forehead of a friend or relative will suffice.
Struggling to come up with an idea? Don't worry, it happens to the best of us. In these situations, a good exercise is to take an existing story and give it a little twist to make it your own. For example, I wrote a series of novels about a plucky little lizard that was actually based on other books that don't have lizards in them. But it was enough of a twist to make it completely unique, and I'm happy to say that the following books are now available online:
- Larry Lizard and the Philosopher's Stone
- Larry Lizard and the Chamber of Secrets
- Larry Lizard and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Larry Lizard and the Goblet of Fire
- Larry Lizard and the Order of the Phoenix
- Larry Lizard and the Half-Blood Prince
- Larry Lizard and the Deathly Hallows Parts One and Two
- Fifty Shades of Larry Lizard
See? Completely unique.
Step 5 - Write it all down
This is the easy bit. Don't bother planning anything, just stick it on paper. A character's name changes from Bill to Lucy in between chapters thirty and forty? Forget it, he could have had a sex change. Spelling mistakes? That's what the spellcheck is for. NB: If you are writing with pen and paper and thus don't have spellcheck, simply draw a paperclip on each page to create the illusion.
When you're finished, write THE END, otherwise the reader won't know where the rest of the book is and is liable to become confused and start digging at the table beneath the book thinking the answer is hidden there. And it almost never is.
Step 6 - Get it published
Have you finished? Good, you're ready to start sending that bad boy out to publishers.
Firstly, make photocopies of your story so you can send it to loads at the same time. If you cannot locate a photocopier, simply write your novel in fountain pen and press the page against another when it is done to create an impression.
Naturally, every publisher in the world is going to be champing at the bit to get your book, so your letter to them should reflect your confidence. Here is the letter I used when sending out my latest novel, Girl with the Larry Lizard Tattoo,
I've wanged a copy of my book in this envelope. Read it and get back to me soon as, yeah, cos I'm a busy man.
I only sent that last week and I've already heard back from one big publisher. Incidentally, does anyone know what 'restraining order' means?
Step 7 - Bask in glory
So now you're a bestselling novelist. Enjoy. You've earned it.
Now, you couldn't have done it without these tips, could you? So I want my cut. Twenty per cent, plus vig. And don't keep me waiting, 'cause I'm an impatient man, capische?
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, then don't hesitate to get in touch. I charge £25 per question, or five for £90, which is a pretty good deal.