Writing Inspiration From The Greats


Sometimes when writers are looking for inspiration, it can be in short supply.

We can overthink the whole creative process, and unfortunately make things more difficult for ourselves.

Here are a few tips from seasoned writers that I myself found helpful.

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him” — Ray Bradbury

This is one of my favourite writing quotes.

Good writing is all about giving readers front-row seats as they watch events unfold.

If a writer follows Ray’s advice, the story action will be both spontaneous and immersive.

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine” — Emily Dickinson

The power of the written word is the gift of writing.

Ordinary, everyday words can become great in the mind of the writer.

People often say that every conceivable plot has already been written. I say: what’s to stop you from doing it better than what has been done before?

Make your words and stories shine.

“In writing, you must kill your darlings” — William Faulkner

How often do we write something, and then think, “that’s quite good, isn’t it”?

Words, sentences or paragraphs might look good on the page. But if they do nothing to enhance the story, then simply get rid of your darlings. Press that delete button.

I’m a sucker for good dialogue in a story. The words are clever, funny . . . surely they have a place?

If they sound like a Morecambe and Wise sketch, they probably shouldn’t.

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass” — Anton Chekhov.

We receive many stories on the Fiction team where the writer is holding court.

“I’m going to tell you that Mary split up with John.”

That’s all well and good, but the readers don’t want to hear the writer’s thoughts on the matter. It’s the characters and story worlds that matter most to them.

Make it real to the readers by losing yourself in the shadows.

Observe what’s happening to your characters. Then write it down.

Looking for more writing inspiration? Click here to take a look at Fiction Ed Lucy’s Story Starters.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.