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I remembered an important lesson this week.

Even in writing, the old saying "the customer is always king" still applies.

I was giving a talk at Bodmin Library as part of World Book Night. This is one of the librarians introducing me -

Bodmin gig.jpg

I'd prepared a talk with my usual mix of writing insights and anecdotes, but only got about fifteen minutes in, a third of the way through, when someone asked a question.

I had the sense plenty of others also had things they wanted to raise, so asked the group if they would prefer we just had a chat.

That seemed to be the view, and so we did - and it was great. We covered such a huge range of topics, from the importance of the first line of a book, to how to build characters, tips on getting published, even some of my dreadful writing jokes.

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Who to Write For

I'm often asked the question - I want to start writing, but who should I write for?

Should I have a go at young adult stories? Or try my hand at romance, crime, thrillers, historical fiction, and on the list goes..

There's a very simple answer which I always give -

You should write for yourself.

There are two reasons for that. The first is that if you spend time analysing the market, to see what's fashionable and selling well, then by the time you've planned and written your book...

The industry will have moved on and something else will be trendy.

But for me, more importantly, the real reason is this -

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One of the most important things for a writer is... (and here's a clue - )





Space! (Excuse the bad joke, but you know me.)

I've enjoyed some space this week, given the bank holiday and fine weather, and it's been wonderful. I didn't try to do any actual physical writing, just a bit of walking, some sampling of beers, and wow! The dividends it paid.

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One of the most nonsensical sayings I've ever heard in life is -

Those who can do; those who can't teach.

As someone who's seen magnificent teachers in action, benefitted hugely from their talents, and dabbles in the art himself, it always irks me. But more importantly, I wonder if those who use the phrase have ever known the joy of teaching.

This week it was summed up for me in an email, one which was so delightful I'm still glowing, a week on.

Last year, at one of the writers' schools where I was teaching, I did a one to one session with a lady about her novel. It was a historical thriller, beautifully researched and elegantly written and had great potential.


There was a sizeable flaw early in the book, which meant I didn't believe in the main character, Martin, doing what he was doing.

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