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Ideas come from action

Plus an ace writing tool, how authors promote their novels, working in public, and how to design an ebook.

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
3 min read
Ideas come from action

This week I did a silly little character doodle during a work-based group video chat (shhh!). I'm rubbish at drawing but I liked it, so I did another. And then I realised I was accidentally drawing what to me look like middle manager types. People in charge of teams. But who are never the boss boss.

I imagined what these characters might say. Mean stuff, most likely. Or maybe they'd be nice? I preferred nice, so doodled some more and shared them to my Instagram stories. The feedback was good!

Since then my brain has been whirring. It feels like there is something more here. At the very least, it's given me some character ideas for my novel-in-progress.

See the full set over on the website: Motivational messages from middle managers.

Anyway. My point is. Keep putting pen to paper, because you never know what will come out and where it will lead. Ideas – good and bad – only come from action.

Enjoy the exciting content linked to below!


Every issue I collect and share the best advice, apps and other shenanigans that I find on my internet travels. Find something useful? Subscribe for free.

Craft has great potential for storing and linking book research

Craft: a fresh take on documents

As you know if you've been reading for a while, I'm a sucker for a new writing app. Craft has been out a while now and I may even have linked to it before, but I'm about to dig in and see if it might be a good place to store some novel research. It looks great, works fantastic on the iPad and I've read nothing but good things.

How Authors Are Promoting Their Novels in 2021

This post on Bookbub is, I suppose, aimed at self-published authors but I’m not sure it makes much difference anymore to be honest. It’s all good to know and get you thinking about how you can get your own work in front of more people.

Found via The Empowered Author newsletter.

How Hilary Mantel goes about writing a novel

Some golden nuggets of writing wisdom here from a Booker-winning author. Some of it is enjoyably ethereal and other parts made me go yes, that's how it feels!

I particularly enjoyed this:

Cultivate a kind of vagueness about the novel, to allow your unconscious to set up connections and juxtapositions. Combine this with a surgical attention to the minutiae of each paragraph.

And on planning:

Avoid working to a set plot; it will make your writing feel mechanical. Just fix on the feeling you want to leave your reader with and work with that goal always in mind.

That's exactly how I worked when I wrote A is for Angelica. And it's the opposite of how I have tried to write in more recent years. Very interesting. Interesting indeed.

Design your ebook like a pro with these 5 simple steps

One from the Podia blog, which is always full of useful information for creator types. There's some sensible ideas for designing an ebook, if that's something you need to do, but the post also includes links to various tools and other tips to help you do it.

The art of working in public

Work in public. Reveal nothing. That's the two lines that drew my attention to this article from 2011 by Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.

When artists and musicians talk about working in public, it usually means sketches and demo tapes, that kind of thing. I think it's much harder for writers to do it. But I do think it's a fantastic way to build momentum, hold yourself accountable and build a following.

Mr Bingo shares 29 things he's learned about creativity and building a following

I'm a fan of Mr Bingo and his art. And so I really enjoyed this Do lecture, in which he talks about his career and how he makes creative decisions. I'm not sure that everyone can take the same approach, but that doesn't mean some of the ideas aren't universal.

Note: this talk contains some rudeness and many of the worst possible swears.

Tweets of the week

Tweets are but dog turds in a street full of angry, flatulent canines. But some of them are quite good. You can follow @iainbroome and @DraftModeHQ on Twitter.

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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.

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