Your characters

Find characters you can feel on an emotional level. Keep hammering away at them until you can feel them, then your story will progress – they’re in charge, not you.

If the book is working, the story will take over itself. The characters and the story are in charge. If you think I’m mad, then start working right now and you’ll see what I mean. A story that follows a plotline like the train from Dublin to Cork will be a dull affair. You need to know roughly where your story is going to, but that’s it.

Don’t write for the Booker committee, your colleagues or that person you really want to impress at the school reunion, write for yourself, enjoy!