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Creative Writing: End

By Creativity, ThinkingNo Comments

Inkwell & Quill. (Image Copyright: Sye Watts/Antony Simpson.)

This is the third and final part in a blog post series, where I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve learned about creative writing over the last few years. The first blog post in the series was Creative Writing: Beginning and the second blog post in the series was Creative Writing: Middle.

1. Carry a Notebook for Ideas
Ideas often come at the strangest of times and in the strangest of places. I’ve had ideas come to me in the bath and had to jump out, dripping wet, to write them down. So be prepared. Carry a notebook with you everywhere that you go. Keep one on your bedside table. Any ideas you get, good, bad or neither, just write them down. It might be a plot, or a character, or a location. The idea might not be fully formed. It doesn’t matter. Just write it down.

2. NEVER Delete Anything
Never delete anything that you write. Save everything. One day, you might want to go back to it. Even if you don’t continue where you left off, but instead start the creative work again with a completely different angle. You’re going to need the original beginnings.

3. Editing Checklist
Most writers spend more time editing than they do writing. It is advisable to click Save As… and save another version of your work with every edit, so that if you want to go back you can. Here’s my editing checklist:

Unticked Box First Read Aloud. Any sentences that you struggle to read or make sense of usually need further work.
Unticked Box Check for appropriate use of capitalisation, commas, semicolons, full stops and speech marks.
Unticked Box Check for typos.
Unticked Box Grammar and Spelling Check.
Unticked Box Cut Overwriting & Repetitions.
Unticked Box Re-write sentences that don’t make sense or are unclear.
Unticked Box Second Read Aloud. Any sentences that you struggle to read or make sense of usually need further work.
Unticked Box Consistency Checks: Tense, Perspective, Description, Characters and Plot.
Unticked Box Consider plot and pacing. Are there any plot holes? Is the pacing of scenes, chapters or even the whole work to slow, to fast or about right?
Unticked Box Third Read Aloud. Any sentences that you struggle to read or make sense of usually need further work.
Unticked Box Put the work away for a few weeks, then go back to it and start the editing checklist again. A break from a creative project gives you distance and allows you to spot mistakes or problems that you didn’t see in the original writing or editing stages because you were to close to the work.

Here is another more technical editing checklist: Grammar Girl’s Editing Checklist.

4. Reader Feedback
Reader feedback is great. But you have to be open to any constructive criticism about your creative work. If you ask friends or family to read your work, ensure that you have a relationship with them that allows complete honesty. Ensure that this honesty doesn’t damage your relationship. I read a good friend’s creative work on a regular basis, as he does mine, and we are completely honest in our feedback. We can do this because we both know that the feedback we give and receive is given with kindness, and is aimed at helping one another to create the best work that we can.

You should always appreciate and appraise reader feedback from any source. Appreciate that someone has taken the time to read your work and give feedback. People who give feedback are often working on their own creative projects. They have taken time out of their creative work to give you feedback on yours.

You don’t need to agree on all the points that they raise, or change everything that they suggest needs changing. You are the creator of your own work, so use your own judgement. But consider the feedback, especially if you are getting the same feedback from several different sources.

Some Writers come together in local Writers groups to get feedback on their creative work. These days there are probably some Writers groups online. Some Writers find these groups useful, others don’t. The best way to see if this works for you is to give it a try.

5. Publishing Options
You can send your work to agents and publishers. To the larger presses or smaller independent ones. You can self-publish on Amazon and even get your self-published printed on demand (POD). I don’t have loads of knowledge about publishing or the experience to advise. All I would say is people with little or no experience manage to get their work published all the time.

6. Promoting Your Work
Some great ways to promote your work include:

  • Get a good book cover designed. Book covers are the first thing people see about your work. A good book cover design can make the difference between people buying your creative work or not.
  • If you’re writing the blurb on the back cover, make sure it is written in a way that sells your creative work.
  • Use social media. Facebook, Twitter, goodreads and Instagram as a minimum.
  • Approach appropriate bloggers, vbloggers and ask them to read & review your creative work.
  • Send copies of your work to appropriate News Paper Entertainment Columnist, Magazine Writers, other Authors, etc. requesting they read & review your work.
  • Attend literacy events and be involved with the literacy community (both locally and online).
  • Do interviews with anyone that is willing to interview you.
  • Try and be in the Media: TV, Radio, News Papers & Magazines. Even if it isn’t directly about your creative work, you’d be surprised how many people will see, hear or read what you say/write and go on to seek out your creative works.
  • Do readings.
  • Contact local libraries, book stores, etc and arrange signings and/or readings.
  • Encourage people to write Amazon Reviews.
  • Have a book Giveaway – people love the opportunity to win something.
  • Hire a Marketing Company, there are many out there that specialise in the PR and marketing of books.

7. Some Great Books About Creative Writing & Publishing

Write soon,


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Book Review: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
a-million-little-pieces-james-frey-book-cover A Million Little Pieces by James Frey is addictive like crack cocaine. Once you pick it up and start reading, you’ll find it near impossible to put back down.

From the cover:

Aged just twenty-three, James Frey had destroyed his body and his mind almost beyond repair. When he enters a rehabilitation centre to try to reclaim his life, he has to fight to determine what future, if any, he has. His lack of self-pity, cynicism and piety gives him an unflinching honesty – a fearless candour that is at once charming and appalling, searing and darkly funny.

(From: Frey, 2004)

Frey takes the reader on his rollercoaster of a journey to recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. It starts with him waking up on a plane with no memory of how he got there, what happened to his face or where he’s going.

A Million Little Pieces is set during Frey’s stay in rehab; is well paced and has plenty of tension, conflict and resolution. Both internally and externally. He recalls memories of his dysfunctional and chaotic alcohol and drug using past.

Stylistically A Million Little Pieces lacked speech marks, but this was possibly deliberate. Not having speech marks was a noticeable stylistic change to the normal layout of a book. Frey was probably using this to subtly hint that his story wasn’t like the story of most people. Frey’s lack of dialogue tags was generally acceptable, but on the odd occasion where Frey had written a scene with a group of people, it did get difficult to establish who had said what.

Towards the end of A Million Little Pieces it began to feel fictional. As I was coming to the end of the book and had enjoyed reading it, I decided to look into other books that Frey had written.

After doing a Google Search, I discovered the story of A Million Little Pieces and understood why it felt fictional – because parts of it were.

A Million Little Pieces was commercially hugely successful both in the US and internationally after being featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show. But then The Smoking Gun revealed in an article titled ‘A Million Little Lies’ that some of Frey’s claims around his criminal past didn’t match up with court records.

Oprah had to respond to these revelations and interviewed Frey on a few occasions. The most recent, a few years after A Million Little Pieces was exposed as being in part fictional is available to watch below:

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I can understand while some people felt lied to, as A Million Little Pieces was promoted and marketed as a memoir.

But I wasn’t in the slightest bit surprised that some of A Million Little Pieces was fact and some was fiction. Because that’s how it read. Who wouldn’t change some of their past if they had the chance? Don’t we all do that all the time? Change things to make them sound better or worse than they actually are with the aim of making our stories more interesting to our friends, family, co-workers, etc. Can we really blame Frey for doing the same for the reader?

Regardless A Million Little Pieces is still a great read. Worth reading if you are interested in addiction, crime, alcohol, drugs, rehab and recovery. Just hold on is a phrase often repeated in the book and was a phrase that I adopted when I was suffering from severe clinical depression.

My Friend Leonard is the follow up book and picks up where A Million Little Pieces ended. I’m currently reading My Friend Leonard and enjoying it just as much as I did A Million Little Pieces.

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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