When inspiration strikes – Nicky Abell-Francis

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By Nicky Abell-Francis

Writing and gaining inspiration is hard, but rather than beat yourself up about doing everything to a set plan, such as starting at chapter one and proceeding onwards, I like to mix up the formula, most often writing my ending first, then leaping from one chapter to another further along as inspiration occurs. ♥

When it strikes, don’t just take notes. Put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and let it flow. You can always change the structure as the story develops. Therefore no blocks occur when you are stone-walling and unable to think of how the story can progress.

You can gain inspiration from anywhere; a lyric of a song, poem, a saying or expression someone may come out with. Jot them down, you will forget them very quickly. One word can inspire a whole paragraph or chapter. I love musical lyrics as they create such emotion and can be weaved into sentences very easily. Of course they need to be adapted, not repeated word for word.

Look also at moving your chapters around. Sometimes one may be better placed at the start of the book. With my first novel I shunted my first three forward and moved my ending to the start of the book. Allowing my heroine to move back in time in the storyline to return to the future. This does mean you need to allow a few good links to connect these rogue chapters, but it makes the brain cells work far better to challenge yourself. Besides, you need to keep the reader on their toes. You can be very bored if just have to go from A to B. Take a minor road and go off-piste with the reader.

How about changing the viewpoint from one character to another in the next chapter. I never follow the correct etiquette. Some may criticise me for this, others may find it works and enjoy the read far more. Be individual and stand out from the crowd, there really is no correct way to create a masterpiece. Explore an angle and allow that line to develop, maybe returning to a random occasion that developed the character to become the person they are now, or have a secondary storyline running alongside the main one. If it peters out to a stop, you can always pull it or just adapt it slightly to allow the reader to see this is what you had intended. You may want to keep it and use it for another story or add it back if the original allows you to. Nothing need be wasted.

Think about your characters’ hobbies and see if they can be incorporated, allowing their character to be revealed by what they are attracted to. Place them in a setting, however abstract, and invent how they would react if it clearly was something they would never contemplate. Have fun then the flow will happen. Don’t be rigid, but be inspired by everything around you.


Nicky Abell-Francis came to writing late and initially intended to to write family history but was then sidetracked to her favourite genre: romance & chick lit. Nicky’s background in sports therapy fed into her debut novel, Rekindling Connections.



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