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What does it take to be a successful writer? Pauline Rowson explains

It’s often said that you should write what you know, but I don't agree. I’ve never committed a murder, or been a police officer, and neither am I married to one. Before I started writing my crime novels I had limited experience and knowledge of the law.  I’d never been to autopsy, (and still haven't) yet after many trials and tribulations I finally got the job as a crime writer. I now have twenty four published crime novels under my belt and more to come. So what does it take to become a successful writer?  Here's my take on some of the basic requirements.

Persistence and patience

Persistence is essential in order to be able to keep writing even when you feel despondent and when the ideas seem to have stalled along with the words. It also helps to have this quality in abundance to cope with the many knock backs and rejections every budding writer receives.

Persistence is also required to conduct research, which every author will need to do for their stories to be realistic and to help them come alive. As some of my novels are contemporary set police procedurals (the DI Andy Horton series) I need to research current police structure and procedure. Other of my novels, the Inspector Ryga mystery series, are police historical crimes set in the 1950s so I also need to research the police procedures of that era along with the historical facts - society, attitudes, politics, technology, geography etc. It also goes without saying that I need to research forensic matters, means of death and pathology for both the 1950s and modern times. Research can be carried out via the Internet, the library and by speaking and corresponding with individuals. I've been very fortunate to talk to some police officers from the 1950s who have given me a wealth of fabulous information. And I now have many contacts in the police force, forensic scientists and crime scene officers who help me. If you haven't got the contacts yet you will find there are many experts on Twitter who are prepared to help you. It also has a good network in the writing community.

Patience is required in order to be able to track down, read and analyse the reams of information you gather, a tenth of which might be useful and only a tenth of that which might finally appear in your novel. So you’ll also need to be selective.

A keen interest in humanity

You will also need a keen interest in humanity, the ability to ask probing questions and listen to the answers. You should have absolutely no desire to speak about yourself and your novel it is listening to other people which will give you story ideas and character insights.

Keen observation skills and a good ear can both be utilised when travelling by public transport, an absolute must for an author. Observe body language, and develop a good ear for conversation. Listen to mobile phone conversations, they can provide a wealth of information on family matters and marital rifts!

All writers must be readers

All writers must be readers. It is by reading others’ novels that you see how they create tension, how they move their characters around the scenes, how they write dialogue and how they create atmosphere in their descriptions.

And all authors need an open inquiring mind

Once you open your mind to ideas they can come thick and fast and they can come from anywhere – that overheard conversation, that snippet of research you’ve just unearthed, a place you have visited or something you’ve seen or read. Make sure you jot down your ideas and when you get stuck just looking at them can take you off on a new tangent.

It’s my belief that you should write what you are enthusiastic about

So there you have it, no previous knowledge or experience required just the desire to research, create, write, observe and enjoy.

Pauline Rowson's gripping, entertaining crime novels full of twists and turns

Pauline Rowson's crime novels
If you enjoy reading gripping, fast-paced crime novels full of twists and turns, compelling and multi-layered with great characters and stories that keep you guessing right to the end then Pauline Rowson's crime novels are right up your street.

Set against the back drop of the ever changing sea on the South Coast of England.

Where to buy Pauline Rowson's books

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OCTOBER 25TH, 2021 @ 6:19:15 BST

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