Writing Tips – J.P. Bowie

This week we have more tips from an author, this time from J.P. Bowie.

He began writing seriously in 2000, self publishing a series of books featuring a young artist living in Laguna Beach. The series was successful and since then J.P. has been published by TEB Press, a UK based publishing company, Wilde City, and American/Australian press, and through MLR Press under the auspices of Laura Baumbach.

J.P. is the author of over seventy novels, novellas, short stories and anthologies. Originally from Scotland he now resides in San Diego, California with his husband, Phil.

These are based solely on my own experience as a writer and should not be taken as a pathway to success and riches!

Tip #1………Whenever you start a new story you should have the complete plot in your head. By that, I don’t mean every single word and action, but you should have the beginning and the end and the main characters fairly set in your mind. With the bare bones settled, you can then start fleshing out the plot, using the interaction of the main protagonists to take you from scene to scene, chapter to chapter. If you have it in your mind how the story will end, getting there is easier and you can avoid writing yourself into a corner, something I have done on occasion, and it can be hell getting out of there!

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Tip #2……… The main characters should appear as living, breathing people. I like to give just a brief description of their physical appearance, tall or short, fit or nonathletic, dark or fair, but leave the longer descriptions to come through the eyes of the other characters. There should also be some background to interest the reader, the character’s upbringing, his taste in music, books, movies, how he reacts to other people’s opinions. Is he stubborn, argumentative, used to getting his own way? Is he a leader or a follower? It’s the little details that can make a character leap off the page instead of being just blah. Your reader must like your main characters, root for them, want them to have a happy ending…feel involved in their lives, laugh and cry with them.


Tip #3……..  Insert humour as much as possible. Nobody wants to read a dreary story. Even when the subject is a serious one, it really pays to inject a funny line, or scene to relieve the tension. Give one of your characters, main or secondary, a quirky sense of humour, or one who says the wrong thing at the wrong time, but cracks everyone up in the process. Comedy belongs in drama and vice versa.

Thanks to J.P. Bowie for his thoughts on writing. You can find a full list of his works at his website.

For the record, my own tips on writing can be found here. This is an older blog of mine, but nothing has changed in the way I write.

Next week we revisit the collective known as the Carter Seagrove Project and check out their take on this topic. CLICK HERE to read.


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