G'day folks,

All writers have different approaches to writing, but generally there are three methods of attack. Here are a few tips I've picked up over the years:
1. Dream up an idea and shoot from the hip. That's me. Most of the time I have no idea where the story will head or finish up. Fortunately, I find it an adrenalin rush and the story becomes self-generating. It's exciting and normally takes me three months to write manuscripts of 85,000 to 100,000 words.

2. Plan everything out before you start writing. I have been to an author's home and found entire walls covered in A3 sheets of white paper. Each sheet contained personality traits of the characters, chapter points and other issues relevant to their manuscript. I found it gob smacking, but that's the way she approaches a novel.

3. Write everything by hand, then type it up. Many authors do this. I certainly do. Why? Good question, but I think it relates to the fact that many of us started writing early in life; well before computers. Our mind was trained to write on paper with a pen or pencil. It's an odd connection between the hand and the mind. However, as with most things, do whatever you find best. There is no right or wrong way. Experiment until you find a happy and creative space. Once you have typed it on your laptop, you can go back at any time and add or delete any part.

Just do it. Many people over the years have told me they'd always wanted to write a book. My stock answer is, 'Do it!'. However, they usually cringe and give some excuse for not having started. My simple advice is this: writing a manuscript or short story is a draft in the first instance, so just let it out - let it rip. You can sort things out in the many revisions you will do; especially the first read when you've finished it. Revision of your work is vital.

Be brave. Try to be brave in each story, play or manuscript you write. Step out of your comfort zone. Maybe use a different gender as your main character, or write a story about something you have to research. It can be an enriching experience. I wrote three manuscripts in what I call the 'Kick Ass' series and the main protagonist is a girl. She is 14 in the first manuscript, 18 in the next and 32 in the third. That surprised some of my feminist friends. On the other hand, 'Mister Rainbow' has a boy and girl as the chief protagonists. Why? It allows you as a writer to give a male and female perspective to whatever disasters or events occur in your story. Also, it makes the book appealing to boys and girls.

 Retain your own voice. Retain your own voice at all times. Never try to emulate another writer's style. Find your own voice and present it well. It's great therapy.

Clancy' comment: Hope these have helped some of you. Don't forget. It's your story and your voice.
 I'm ...

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