Pauline Rowson's Five Rules For Writing

1. Travel by public transport as often as you can.  If you’ve got a free bus pass so much the better, you can stay on it all day and save on heating bills at home.  You see and meet some great characters for novels.

2. Be nosy. Earwig other people's conversations in cafes, bars, buses, trains and on their mobile phones. Hoover up their stories and anecdotes only don’t to it too overtly because you’ll either get arrested or punched in the face. People watch. Register the body language.  It adds colour to your characters, but ditto above.

3. Write for yourself rather than trying to write to suit your publisher, your agent, your readers.  You’ll end up with something watered down and weak that nobody loves least of all you. Don't read reviews, or if you do, learn to take the rough with the smooth and then carry on writing for yourself and for enjoyment, not to please the woman from Woking who claims your novels are utter tripe.

4. If you get to the stage in your novel where you're bored with the story, then your reader will most certainly be bored too. Chuck it out and start again. Or as Chandler once said, bring in a man with a gun.

5. Marry someone rich. It helps.  If you can’t then accept that writing is hard work, you don't get a pension plan, and you don't get a regular salary cheque. Nobody is forcing you to do this, so don't moan, enjoy it and if you don't enjoy it, don't do it.  

PS And don’t spend too much time drawing up lists otherwise you’ll never get any writing done.

Back to writing.

Where to buy


Buy Pauline Rowson's books USA

Buy Pauline Rowson's books UK

Buy from your local bookshop

Available from all good booksellers in hardcover and for loan in libraries in the UK, Commonwealth and the USA.


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