Bestseller Lee Child’s tips for writers

Lee Child - entertain yourself first

Lee Child – entertain yourself first

Why the West Midlands doesn’t shout about Lee Child I’ve no idea. Lee is an international bestselling writer with his series of Jack Reacher novels  and his star can only climb higher now Tom Cruise is on board – albeit controversially – for the Hollywood movies.

A lifelong Villa fan, Lee went to school in Birmingham and Coventry before starting a career in television with ITV. Many people who’ve read his books in this part of the world perhaps don’t realise this.

His story can be found on his website here. Back in September I was lucky enough to get a ticket to hear Lee speak at the Birmingham Library theatre.

For the many aspiring novelists in the room he had some great practical tips and interesting insights all related with a transatlantic twang – Birmingham vowels with a touch of East Coast, perhaps.

He only began to write when he was made redundant. He enjoyed his job in television and needed something to do. So, a few bullets….

  • Lee writes 1600 words a day from 12.30pm till 5pm (a book is completed in 80-90 sessions taking around six months)
  • Stop writing when it doesn’t flow. You’ll bin it anyway
  • He doesn’t plot at all – no more than six words ahead!
  • Write what you want, to excite you
  • Write to entertain, surprise people. Surprise yourself
  • Start novel with a specific scene in mind and this dictates first or third person narrative

Lee’s point – and I’ve read similar from Stephen King – is that he entertains himself first. If he gets bored the story withers.


About richlakin

I write about things that interest me
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2 Responses to Bestseller Lee Child’s tips for writers

  1. Viv says:

    Very comforting to all of us who don’t really plan etc. And good to hear he doesn’t force it.
    If your own writing doesn’t keep you entertained why should it entertain another.

    • richlakin says:

      True. I’ve also read that John Irving says any writer setting out on a novel and not knowing how it’ll end is ‘a fool and a knave!’ I guess it’s each to his own, but I prefer this route. Thanks for stopping by…..

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