Writers Tips

Make Something Happen!

My writer's tip isn't exactly my own, but a customized version of advice I came across from Raymond Chandler: "When in doubt, have a man come through the door holding a gun."

What's important about this is neither the man nor the gun, but something happening.  When you find yourself in the middle of a scene - or a book, for that matter - and things seem stuck or stale, introduce an unpredictable element to the action.  A bird flying into the window, a pounding from the floor above, a man emerging naked from the woods.  It doesn't really matter what the interruption is, so long as your characters find it dramatic, upsetting or intriguing.  Because once you have your characters reacting to something new, your scene will be alive again.  What's more, the way your characters respond to the interruption will often be revealing of an aspect of their personality perhaps even you weren't aware of.  Making something happen makes other things happen.

Andrew Pyper's The Demonologist, was an international best seller. His most recent novel is The Damned

Write What Frightens You

Write what frightens you, what feels too dangerous to say. Don’t worry about publishing it, or even submitting it for publication—unless and until you want to. Just know what it is. It’ll be the core of your writing and where you are most likely to find your voice, your subjects. And, of course, read, as much as you can, without fear of being influenced or intimidated. Read for pleasure, read for fun, read to be infuriated and to be inspired, to figure out “how did she do that?” Along the way you’ll figure out what you can take from all this reading and make it your own.

- Diana Fitzgerald Bryden


Diana Fitzgerald Bryden is the author of No Place Strange, longlisted for an IMPAC Dublin prize. Her essay Dog Days appears in The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood.