Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lessons In Writing

by M T McGuire

Thinking about what to write for this post, I started wondering, why I write what I write and what big lessons I have learned, that I can share with you today, so that you don’t have to!

Plan the way that suits you.

Do what works for you: I tend not to plan in detail. I do sketch out scenes before I write them down but I don't usually write them in order, indeed, when I start I seldom know where a scene is going to go in the grand scheme of things. On the one hand, this approach works well for me because I don't have to plan, or think too far ahead. On the down side, I have to remember a long way behind. The solution is the timeline.

These days I draw complicated mind maps in the back of note books. Ideally, I'd have a huge spread across the drawing room wall, like a crime investigation office. However, for some reason, my husband seems to be very against that idea. I can’t think why.

Helpful Thing One then: Make a timeline. Even if I don't know where the events I've written are going to go, with a time line, I can, at least, start to understand where they might slot in and more importantly, if they can't.

Genre Mash without fear.

Yes, another traditional no-no this one. Well ... this is the Science Fiction Romance Brigade so that's a double right off. I think I can safely say we mash genre here. But, I've never understood why it's considered imperative a writer keep to one. It's so unrealistic for starters. Nobody in life does just one thing. That said, having written a series of four humorous science fiction fantasy action adventures - with a dash of clean romance in books 2, 3 and 4 - I do appreciate that can be quite difficult to track down such a wide market when you come to flog the thing afterwards. If you are an indie writer, you have to sell your work so targeting it is good, but failing that, if you can sell something you love with conviction that's got to help too.

Helpful Thing Two then: if writing for specific markets isn't working out, writing what you'd like to read is the second best thing.

Keep focused.

The last most important thing: avoid looking at others and comparing them to you! There are many folks doing exceedingly well by writing lots of books and bringing them out monthly. I am in awe of them but not everyone is such a literary titan. We all write at different speeds and we all have different circumstances. The speed I write, well ... glaciers overtake me and I eat a LOT of snail and tortoise dust. At first it got me down and I thought of giving up. Then I realized that I'd never finish if I waited for an opportune moment to start. I dived in but soon realized I needed to set realistic goals within my own personal circumstances.

So the third Useful Thing: writing has taught me to be realistic with myself about targets, measuring progress and deadlines If you set realistic deadlines, you’ll always meet them.

Thank you so much for letting me post here today!

M T McGuire writes books... very slowly. These include a complete series of four books: the K’Barthan Series and almost three quarters of another book due out in 2016. Her first book, Few Are Chosen, K'Barthan Trilogy: Part 1 is free, everywhere and her second book is free to anyone who signs up to her mailing list.

M T McGuire on the internet:

Website: www.hamgee.co.uk

List of books on her site: www.hamgee.co.uk/books (The science fiction romance ones are the K’Barthan Series.)

List of books/author pages on retail sites:

Amazon (wherever you are): http://Author.to/MTMcGuire

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/16oqU5K

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/24556


  1. Goodness MT, I'm so glad you didn't give up on writing. I couldn't agree more with your sentiment about writing what you'd like to read. I can see that perhaps you have to be more inventive with your marketing to get round those pesky genres. Which leads me on to ... I didn't even realise there was a genre of science fiction romance and if I hadn't followed you over here from Twitter, I wouldn't have known about SFR Brigade. Now I do know about it, I shall be back to have a nosey around that lovely long list of authors. Thanks for a useful post.

  2. Three very important points, MT, you rule breaker you! Good job!


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