The Pros and Cons of Studying Writing

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I am following the careers of two emerging writers who have both gone back to studying at university in their late twenties/early thirties. I did the same thing, studying a master’s degree in writing, starting when I was twenty-seven and finishing when I was thirty. But even though they are both very vocal about writing, publishing and wanting to be writers, they aren’t studying writing. One is studying archaeology and anthropology ten years after gaining a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and the other is studying astronomy after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in criminology.

I find it curious, probably because I’m a literal kind of person. When I decided I wanted to make writing my career, I studied writing. But, of course, there are many paths that can be taken towards becoming a writer. And being a writer while having other specialist knowledge can really expand career opportunities. After all, most writers make most of their money doing things other than writing.

So should you study writing? Should you study something else? Should you study at all? Here are a few things to consider. Continue reading

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Should You Write a Christmas-themed Book?

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Clearly, it’s much easier to make the decision to write a Christmas-themed blog post (a thousand or so words, a fairly small investment of writing time) but should you write an entire Christmas-themed book? Depending on the type of books you write, it could be another small (or at least smaller) investment of writing time (such as with children’s books) or it could be months or years of your life (such as with full-length novels).

As with all writing choices, there are pros and cons. The final decision (and the reasons behind it) for one person will be completely different to the final decision (and the reasons behind it) for another. So this decision needs to be the right decision for you. Continue reading

The Pros & Cons of a Pen Name (With a Little Help from KK Ness)

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In 2012, when I released my debut novel, Enemies Closer, I decided to use the pseudonym “LE Truscott”. The book was action adventure and I was concerned (perhaps unnecessarily) that male readers wouldn’t be interested in reading a woman writing in the genre. I didn’t think too long or too hard about what the drawbacks might be. But just as there were benefits, there were also disadvantages.

KK Ness has recently released her first book, Messenger, in The Shifter War fantasy series and her pseudonym is a complete departure from her actual name (as opposed to the partial disguise I chose). I asked her a few questions about her choice to help illustrate the pros and cons of using a pen name. Continue reading

One Main Character versus an Ensemble Cast

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When I first started developing the concept for my upcoming novel, Black Spot, there were six main characters, three women and three men. But the more I worked on it, the more interested I became in the story of just one character. She didn’t mean to dominate – she wasn’t that kind of girl – but it ended up happening anyway. She was just so much more interesting – her story was just so much more interesting – and eventually all the other characters started drifting away.

Sometimes a character is so powerful that they insist on having their own story and sometimes a story is so varied that it needs an ensemble cast to tell it properly. There are pros and cons to each choice so make sure you consider them all. Continue reading

Should You Have a Blog, Too?

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Maybe my immediate answer to this question should be no (after all, I don’t want too much competition for the reading time of the audience out there) but there has been an explosion in blog numbers in the past few years and I’m hardly one to lecture others – after all, I’m relatively late to the party. I’ve only had my blog for about nine months.

But my more considered response is to think about why you are contemplating starting a blog and to make sure you understand what is involved. Here’s some pros, cons and tips that might be able to help you decide. Continue reading