Friday, April 12, 2013

Writing Advice from J.I. Bartholomew

I’ve been writing for a few years now and have been having a great time. I write adventure novels for young adults and children, although grown-ups seem to enjoy the stories too.

One of the things that astounds me the most is the nature of writing. Creative writing is about making dreams real. Looking deeply into the process, the writer has a vision, a day dream of monsters or heroes playing out across the mind, and with this miracle of words can let others share the dream. The writer’s thoughts become words, the words written down, the words read and made into thoughts which bring the vision to the reader.

I recall finding that vision as a child. I don’t know which book it was, but there was a moment when reading became effortless and the words faded into the background, vibrant images and clear voices filling my young imagination. What enlightenment! That was when reading became no chore.

The creative process for me is a delicate balance. I tend to write longhand while doing the first draft for a purely practical reason. The speed I write longhand seems to match the speed that my brain dreams the day dreams. Of course later I will type out, improve the words, neaten things up, polish, get frustrated with, enjoy, rewrite, etc. in no fixed order. So, that is my writing. I jot down my day dreams and make them sound better, offering them to others to dream too.

A little advice for anyone starting out and having no clue how to start. The snowflake method. Google it, and you might find it helpful in getting your ideas and writing organised. It’s basically about Story and Character. You think up some basic story, then you think up some basic characters to live the story. Then you go back to the story and make it denser. With the denser story, you go back and make the characters more real. And so on, switching back and forth between story and character until, at last, you have a good plot outline and a clear idea of who these people are.

I’ve always been of the opinion that anything goes. Write what you want to write, and don’t think about anything but doing it well. If you love your work then your passion will attract readers. Writers have that same need in them that other artists have, to create. We paint with words, carving out the stories, moulding what we see and hear inside, bringing this into the world. My editor says that all books are already there, existing somewhere invisible in the ether. We need only learn to read what is not yet real. The stories yet to be told, sleeping deeply in the dream world, dormant until a reader reads the words. There is the magic. Perhaps all books are spell books that make worlds inside us. 

J.I.Bartholomew is the author of the Swift Chronicles.



Beyond Tomb Mountain is available from and may be downloaded for the Kindle. Click here for the Amazon purchase link!

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