happy writing tips


  1. If you have only an inkling of a novel idea, try writing a synopsis first. Ideas come as you write. It not only crystallises the story in your head but can also move it forward. This is what I did with my new novel, The Hushing Wood. The finished novel is not like the synopsis but the feeling and mood of the story is there and it helped me get to know my characters.  
  1. Read for pleasure but keep your mind open. A word, a sentence, a thought might spark little fires in your own work in progress. I do two types of reading – with my eyes, and with my ears. At the moment I’m reading Lavinia by Ursula K Le Guin and also listening to an audiobook called The Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman. By using both methods I can ‘read’ two novels at the same time without mixing them up. I’m constantly writing down little ideas that come to me while reading. TV is good for this too, watching a show with a notebook in hand.
  1. Ideas for novels can propagate in the dreamy moments just after waking. If I can, I lie in bed and let them come. But whatever you do, don’t fall back to sleep. You need to recall and write those ideas down before they evaporate.
  1. I believe that the greatest threat to an author these days is social media. Allow yourself certain times during the day when you allow yourself to go on it. Unfortunately I don’t follow my own advice. I’ve heard it said that social media doesn’t sell more books but I tend to disagree. I purchase quite a number of books from the recommendations I see on social media.
  1. Sometimes I get tired of writing in the one place so when I feel bored, I might write in different places around the house, like my bedroom, or back room or on the deck. I find it can give me a nudge. I like writing the very first draft of a novel in a café by pen in a notebook. A closed space is good for editing. An open space where you can see out is good for writing new stuff.
  1. A whole lot of writing involves not the actual putting down of words on paper but the spaces in between. Washing dishes, feeding kids, walking, ah yes walking is a wonderful stimulant.
  1. Let your story bounce off life, interact with it, laugh alongside it. Let the little things feed your big imagination.

What have you found helpful in your writing?



6 thoughts on “happy writing tips

  1. Great tips – I follow most of these. I agree with you on social media – I not only buy books based on word of mouth but also have managed to interact with parents who buy my books for their children.

  2. Thanks for your feedback, Chitra. As authors, and especially children’s authors, we do need social media.

  3. Dear Mrs Gabrielle Wang,

    I have read most of your books: “The Garden of Empress Cassia”, “Little Paradise”, “The Wishing Bird”, and “Pearlie & Poppy- The Australian girl series”.

    Like you, I love to write short stories. I am currently writing a 1500 words short fiction for a writing competition in the University of Adelaide. Can you gives me some tips on writing a short fiction, please? (I am writing about a imagery of 2020. Its about a girl who desires to ends World War Three and reunion with her friends in the Kuro academy at Darwin, because she is supporting the opposite side.)

    Hope you would reply 🙂

    Thank you 🙂

    Kindly Regards,

    1. Hello Yuheng,

      The only advice I can give you is to read lots of short stories. Ray Bradbury is a great short story writer. Read his The Illustrated Man. I also highly recommend Raold Dahl’s short stories.

      Good luck with your writing


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