You’re not a REAL writer if you have to swot up!


You may think it silly but, I did think twice about putting this post up…Why? Well, because no one wants to admit when they don’t know something…There’s a sort of ‘you should know this already’ mentality, and a certain shame attached to admitting you may need a little fine tuning.

But I say let’s throw a BULBOUS BABOONS BOTTOM at all of that because the fact is, we don’t know everything, swotting up and researching the profession you want to get into is not only common sense in my book, but can be extremely rewarding, I mean, who can disapprove of a few improvements? Only those who don’t want change surely…

Recently I’ve been shamefully swotting up on my plotting, and structure stuffs I’ve never studied this sort of thing before, because I never knew I was even interested in it! But I’m aware that my technical writing could be tighter, sharper even- especially writing this current sequel.

I’m in love with Kristen Lamb’s blog at the minute, and as a no nonsense editor I would highly recommend you check her out for invaluable tips on writing pitfalls, with posts stuffed with immediate advice. I save her posts that’s how good she is. She’s the reason why I’m currently three quarts of the way through Jack Bickhams ‘Scene and structure’ book- it’s fab- he talks about intention, plotting, internalisation, flashbacks and constructive ways of pushing the story forward. I highly recommend it.

If your self publishing Joanna Penn has got a great many tips to help you out too, with informative blog posts and courses!


I’ve also heard amazing things about ‘Stephen Kings on writing a memoir of the craft’ which I’ll link below!

But seriously this ‘Going back to school’ as I put it, is weirdly intoxicating, god I can’t believe I’m even saying this- especially as I can remember a time when I was running away from the school gates, not towards them.

Now don’t get it twisted guys, I’m not saying in any way that by doing this, it will make you into a BESTSELLER, but trying to sharpen up your writing skills is not a bad way to go.

With that in mind, lets do this…. 


  1. Vary your reading list-You’ll almost certainly learn something new and if you’re struggling, read a bestseller to see how they’ve achieved something similar to what your working towards, it’s got people hooked for a reason.

2. Write– Try doing a few writing exercises to hone down your skills. Show it to a friend or your creative writing teachers. What did they like, why? Did it bore them to death, why? Did they want more…Why??? Then use the feedback, and tighten that baby up.

3. Leave it alone for 2 wks– then go read it with fresh eyes. Ask yourself honestly did it work for you, when did you switch off RED INK that bit, because that’s the BIT you need to work on, forget about the part that works it’s NOT priority.

4. Research-Are you struggling with mapping, POV, characterisation, believe me someone would have written about it. Ask your local bookshop, librarian, check out good reads, and positive reviews to get some guidance on who has. But whatever you do, whatever it is you want us to know, make us work for it, keep us in utter suspense until we burst a blood vessel, and then give to us good, or keep that carrot of information dangling until the sequel comes out, which is just, well it’s just plain cruel really…lol

5. Oh and did I mention READ….It’s always worth a second mention lol.

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Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post what are your thoughts, would love to hear from you!





2 thoughts on “You’re not a REAL writer if you have to swot up!

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