Creative writers come in all shapes and sizes. Put the stereotyped bespectacled introvert, hunched over a desk in a dusty attic, out of your mind: no ‘typical’ writer exists. Whatever your background, age or current situation, if you have the enthusiasm and discipline, you can become a writer.
I designed this book to help you write a novel, a collection of short stories or a piece of narrative fiction or non-fiction. I made it as practical as possible, filling it with exercises and examples from the greats so that you can progress from your first vague ideas through to a completed manuscript.
Without doubt, writing is difficult. One of the main obstacles is that it’s a lonely business and often no one’s around to help or support you along the way. Plus, creative writing techniques are poorly taught at school, and most education seems designed to drum the creativity out of you, with its focus on grades, results and ticking the right boxes. This regimented approach makes being creative later in life difficult.
All children are naturally creative, and I believe that adults are at their happiest when being creative too. However, taking up an art or a craft after you’ve finished your education is often hard, because you haven’t had the initial training or practice you need. For physical pursuits, you may no longer have the manual strength or dexterity you had as a child (for example, it’s hard to be a musician or dancer without physical strength and if you haven’t put ...