THE BLOG TOUR – starring Author Gordon Bickerstaff

Blog 6 The Best and Simplest Advice for New Aspiring Writers

If you aspired to be an electrician or a plumber then you would spend a few years learning your craft. If you aspire to be a writer then it is important to learn your craft, and to learn the writing craft you need to take off your reading for enjoyment hat, and put on your apprentice writer hat.

Learn from the experts. Read a book for enjoyment then read it again as an apprentice writer with a critical reviewer hat on. Discover how the writer held your interest. Learn the writer’s techniques in unfolding the story. Examine how the writer has revealed and described characters, and places. When I’ve read a good book, I may read it three times (not in succession) to understand the writer’s techniques. If I learn something, I make a note – maybe a paragraph, maybe a page to remind me of good technique/style/exposition etc.

If you want to learn the writing craft; you should make notes. What worked in the book? Equally, what didn’t you like? No book can satisfy all readers, and experienced writers do make mistakes in storytelling. You will come across different writing styles and voices. Find one that you like so that you can define your own style and voice.

Compare books by the same author, and compare books by different authors. More than likely you will read in the genre that you like, but also dabble in other genres, and look at the different writing techniques used in different genres. Now, your notebook of the writing craft is building up, and you are gaining a good understanding of what writing techniques you like, and which ones you don’t like. Maybe you will come up with your own hybrid style that people like to read. More important, when you come to write, you will employ established writing techniques that will bring your story and its characters to life.

Agatha Christie read 200 books every year. President Theodore Roosevelt read a book every day. Harriet Klausner had posted 31,014 books reviews on Amazon before she died. Though some critics believe she couldn’t have read them all.

The time it takes to read a book depends on how quickly you read. If you read at an average 250 words per minute it might take one and a half minutes to read a page. So a 300 page novel will take 420 minutes or 7 hours. If you read for an hour a day then it will take a week to finish.

Some people read more books by speed reading – taking in a line at a time. I found that if I take in the words too quickly, I sometimes miss the significance, and reading is less enjoyable. When I’m not writing, I can read and enjoy a 300 page book in a week. If it is well written, I’ll read it again with my apprentice hat on, and learn something from the writer. Good writers write good stories, and use good techniques to tell their stories.


Buy Gordon Bickerstaff’s Books

GFB author bio pic

Amazon-UK – The Black Fox (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #3)

Amazon-USA – The Black Fox (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #3)

The Black Fox cover

Follow Gordon Bickerstaff here:


Twitter handle: @ADPase

Deadly Secrets (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1)

book 1

Everything To Lose (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #2)
book 2

BOOK REVIEW – “Deadly Secrets” (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1) by Gordon Bickerstaff

Deadly Secrets (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1)Deadly Secrets by Gordon Bickerstaff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Deadly Secrets” (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1) by Gordon Bickerstaff

FOUR STARS * * * *

The locale of the story (after a short and graphic opening) starts the reader off in the United Kingdom nations of Scotland and England and then carries them to other areas of Europe as the tale unwinds.

Gavin Shawlens is a biochemist who is working with creator Emma Patersun on her new food process that will revolutionize the industry. In the right hands Emma’s work could help ease the food demand burden and feed the hungry; in the wrong hands, it would mean ultimate control for whoever possessed it and could possibly threaten the stability of the world wide food supply.

James Barscadden and his company BARSCO are determined to steal the process in order to gain that control and to profiteer from it.

The story is written expressively and author Gordon Bickerstaff offers much detail into the setting, the backstory, and some of the business dealings and practices of the Barscadden Corporation (which offers additional insight as to why the company works and functions as ruthlessly and efficiently as it does). These are just a few examples of the detail and style found within the story.

I also felt the descriptive dialog and detailed explanations of some of the scientific and chemical processes added to the story. While I appreciated the details, there were times I thought it was “holding up” the story. (That’s more my issue than the work – I basically have an attention span of a gnat). I wanted to get to the next turn in the story and while the details keep my attention, I did catch myself wanting to “move on” ahead of the “telling”.

Overall, a very enticing read and a solid “recommend” for anyone that enjoys the crime / thriller / suspense genres.

I recommend “Deadly Secrets” (Gavin Shawlens Thriller #1) by Gordon Bickerstaff
* * * * Four Stars (out of five)

Review on Amazon

Review on Goodreads

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