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Submitted by visitors to this website

Posted by Jack

April 26th 2012

Hello mr nicholson I am currently planning a book i wish to write and am stuck on how long the book should be considering that it is my first. I though 400 pages would be good. What do you think? Also i am using MS Word so would that equate to 800 because of the double sided printing.

William Nicholson responded:

There's no official length for a book - 400 pages is quite a stretch for a first. I'd settle down to writing your story in the best way you can, and see how it comes out in terms of length. Some excellent books are only 150 pages. Using Word, double spaced, you'll get 250-300 words to a page. A book can be anything from 50,000 words to 150,000 words. So don't worry about that side of things. Concentrate on your writing, and make it terrific.

Posted by Dawn

April 4th 2012

Hello William Nicholson, This is a semi question! I'm in the second half of my 60's. I've read all your books, still re-read them. Although I missed out on The Society of Others when it came out. Caught up later, and loved it. Still can't work out the ending though. I've written stories, poetry, plays, articles, for as long as I can remember. Wrote two books in my teens but they were not good. Certainly not publishable! I wasn't able to give the time I wanted to writing, being a single mother in the late 1960's and having no family of my own as back up, it took a lot of energy. However, I've made up for it in the last ten years since retirement. But...although I've had quite a few really lovely, positive, rejections,(if a rejection can every be positive), how on earth does one ever actually get there? There being - being published. I've been told my books are not 'edgy' enough, too 'middle class', etc.etc. All pretty standard stuff. I know it's harder than it's ever been to get an agent or a publisher. It is said everyone has a book in them, and it seems that everyone is writing, not one, but several books! I guess this is the question bit: Did you ever, ever, even for a short time feel like giving up? How do I actually decide whether or not I just don't have enough talent to make it, and find something else to do? I hate not to be writing, whenever I finish a book I am bereft. So I have a short break and start another...but I would so like to see a book of mine in print. I've looked at the route of e books, doesn't appeal. Partnership publishing - sort of appeals, apart from the cost being totally prohibitive. As I get older, time flies and the urgency increases. Anyway, thank you for ploughing through this question or semi question. Thank you so much for your writing. It is is a real inspiraiton to me. At the moment I am re-reading Mad and Rich - for the goodness knows how many times - and both laughing and crying at the same time. Thank you again, Dawn

William Nicholson responded:

The question you raise is so tough to answer - whether to keep going in the face of rejection. I wish I could promise you that it will happen one day. But it might not. I think probably the right approach is to write because you love it, to write in order to get better and better, and not to rest too much sense of your self on being published. That way you don't feel a permanent failure, you feel like someone on a continuing exciting journey. And as you proceed, you will get better, and if you keep sending the work out, you're still in with a chance. One key to getting good is to receive criticism, and rewrite accordingly. You ask if I ever felt like giving up. No, I didn't, but then I had some small success by about the age of 30, and had reason to persevere. Also I didn't expect to make a living from writing, and was doing a full-time job, which took some of the pressure off. One last thought: if what you write about is very interesting in itself, leaving aside your skill as a writer, you get a better chance. Maybe you need to look at your subject matter. Is there something you know about that might intrigue and fascinate others to read about?

Posted by Alyssia

April 4th 2012

Not sure if you remember, but a few years ago I sent in a question about which actors and actresses you would choose to cast to play the characters in the Wind on Fire trilogy. I did an assignment on creating a movie poster for it, and once I've found it again I'd be more than happy to send you a picture of it, see what you think. This next question goes on from that in a way - have you ever considered adapting the Wind on Fire trilogy into a movie trilogy? Some people seem to compare your trilogy with the Hunger Games, and although I am a huge fan of THG, Wind on Fire trilogy will always have the top place in my heart, and it's been such a dream of mine to see it make it to the big screen. Any thoughts?

William Nicholson responded:

Usual old problem with making WoF into films: needs a producer with deep pockets. It's just not happening at present. Maybe one day.

Posted by Chris Close

April 3rd 2012

When you begin with an idea do you ever consider whether you should begin writing it as a novel or a screenplay or a play or does the topic dictate the genre?

William Nicholson responded:

I know from the start what form I'm planning to work in. Usually it's simple: if it's a screenplay, someone else will have given me the job. I don't write screenplays 'on spec'. All my books are written without any kind of contract, and only sold when finished. Same with plays.

Posted by Stephanie Hill

April 1st 2012

I'm actually curious about your experience working with an editor. How did the process go for you? Were the revisions huge, if you were even asked to make any aside from minor copy editing changes? Was it wildly different book to book? Spending so much time on something, putting so much of your life into a manuscript, kind of makes it your baby. Was it difficult for you to let others have input on your vision? Knowing that your stories had to be physically represented in paper form, what did you feel about the process of cover art? Were you asked for your opinions or did you feel railroaded into art that you weren't enthusiastic about? Overall, I suppose I'm wondering if the editing process is something you dread or something you look forward to, because it is such a huge part of creating wonderful stories for others to also enjoy.

William Nicholson responded:

On the whole the changes editors ask me for are not massive, and they only expect you to make the changes if you agree. Most of the suggestions I get are excellent. As for letting others mess with my baby - it's important to let go, I find. I don't dread the editing process, I love it. Another chance to make the book better. Cover art is more problematic. I rarely like my covers. But I'm always told I'm not an expert on this, and should shut up.

Posted by Mark

April 1st 2012

Dear Mr Nicholson First I would like to say how much I loved the wind on fire series. I am not sure the best way to contact so I felt this would be the easiest and most efficient way of finding out. I recently graduated university with a Masters degree in film production, and I am very much interested in making the wind of fire trilogy into motion pictures. Who would be best for me to contact Thank You Mark P.S. You don’t have to put this on your site if you think it might raise people hopes of a film adaptation when none may come of it, though I hope that is not the case.

William Nicholson responded:

I hold the rights, and I wouldn't pass on the rights without the assurance that there was the finance to make the films. This means in effect that the offer would have to come from a film production company. So your best first step is to interest such a company, in principle at least. Then you contact my agent - names on this site.