Transferable writing skills

Sometimes there is an overlap between my main career and my writing. In paid roles I have written business cases, government policy on privacy, and responses to serious complaints, using the same skills that I apply to writing non-fiction. You need to research the facts then understand and target the right audience and get the structure right. Presently I am preparing a large private complaint where my knowledge of relevant legislation in relation to the education sector is particularly useful.

My fiction is sometimes inspired by people I have met at work, or by incidents that happened in an office or a location that I visited. There is an old adage that you write about what you know, with Ian Fleming famously saying that he only wrote about locations that he had visited. This doesn’t necessarily apply in the science-fiction genre where writers describe worlds that are entirely fictitious. Yet in these worlds you often find characters who are strangely familiar.

It is perhaps more accurate to say that you write what you know and change it to suit the required circumstances.

Paul Williams is a writer of fiction and non-fiction best known for his Jack the Ripper Suspects: The Definitive Guide and Encyclopedia.

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