Alison Littlewood on + Competition from Twisted Tales

I was recently flicking through Twitter, as you do, and noticed this wonderful twitter from a website called

@armedwithpens why waiting for inspiration can damage your writing. Great piece from @Ali_L

So I immediately toddled along to their website, to discover that Ali has just written a guest blog for them, so I thought I’d steal a little bit of it. To see the rest, click here and head to

‘Since writing A Cold Season, I’ve met a lot of people who’ve said “I’d like to write a novel – but I don’t know how to start.” The answer – that you start by getting started – is at once the most simple and the hardest thing to grasp.

A Cold Season was the first novel I submitted to a publisher, but it wasn’t the first one I drafted, or even the second. And just as with writing fiction in the first place, I thought about novel-writing for a long time before I got started. And did that help? Did the lightning bolt of inspiration strike and carry me through the next 80,000 words? No, of course it didn’t. It actually took plenty of hard graft and determination.

It also took a welcome boost from NANOWRIMO, or National Novel Writing Month, which essentially takes the premise that if you stick to writing a set word count every day, at the end of the month you’ll have the first draft of a novel. Probably not a very good first draft, but that was okay: I’d decided by then that all I wanted to do was to have done it. I’d started treating it, not as a potential magnum opus, but as a writing exercise; and furthermore one that, if it wasn’t very good, had only cost me a month.

One problem: where was the lightning flash? It hadn’t come yet. I had the determination, but no premise. No plot. Not even an inkling that one was forming in the back of my mind. So I ended up deciding what this January novel would be about on December 31.

Yes, I did type that right. I picked a storyline out of the air the day before I started – and then I just started. And it was pretty tough, especially the big-bit-in-the-middle, but I did it’

For those of you who like this little snippet of opinion from Alison, you may also be interested to know that Twisted Tales – promotors of 21st-century horror – are currently having a competition to win one of ten copies of A Cold Season over on their blog, simply by sending your name to the lovely people at Twisted Tales. To go over to it and see what it’s all about, click here.

And if that isn’t enough, they will also be holding two charity events in Lancaster and Liverpool today and tomorrow with guest speakers including: Graham Joyce, Alison Littlewood and Simon Kurt Unsworth. To read more about these events, you can click here for the Lancaster event and here for the event in Liverpool. And get yourself over there to hear some readings from these awesome horror writers.

Have a great weekend everyone!


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