Finding time to write is something I, like many, struggle with – my excuse includes, but is not limited to, four teenagers at home who need lots of chauffeuring, a part time job, ongoing freelance work, my role as a book reviewer and the lack of a quiet space to write in. Fiona McIntosh, author of The Lavender Keeper, The French Promise, The Last Dance and Nightingale, has plenty to say about that in her practical resource for writers, How to Write Your Blockbuster. Here’s the blurb:
Almost everybody thinks they have a book in them, or dreams of seeing their name on the cover of a book. And while there are many resources out there on the ‘craft’ of writing or how to find your creative voice as an ‘artist’, there is little by way of practical advice on how to actually set about writing genre fiction for a career.
Fiona McIntosh, one of Australia’s most successful commercial authors across a range of genres, is here to set the record straight, and set aspiring novelists on a realistic path. She believes that if you have a tough hide and a philosophical attitude – as well as a damn strong work ethic – anyone can make a living from popular writing. And she’s here to show you how.
Well. McIntosh has a bit of a kick up the butt in store for writers who need more time. I know, because I felt that kick up the butt a number of times, even as my mind was protesting, ‘But this is different’ and, in my best teenager imitation, ‘You don’t understand.’ In her words: ‘Now those reasons are perfectly sound – if you’re a dabbler.’ Ouch.
How to Write Your Blockbuster is full of words like ‘commitment’ and ‘discipline’, and phrases like ‘finish what you started’. And, hard as it may be to hear (read), McIntosh clearly knows what she’s talking about. She shares what she has learned about writing commercial fiction, from approaching publishers to her formula for making time to write. I gave the formula a try – set myself a target of 600 words a day for four days a week (getting up at 6am because it’s the only time I have the necessary quiet) and I’m on my way. It’s up to me now to keep going.
For those who want to make it in the commercial market, or those who have no idea how to make time for writing, this is a most handy reference.
Available from good bookstores ($19.99). My copy was courtesy of Penguin Books Australia.