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I am a writer - late developer since I wasn't published until I was 50. I have now written 23 novels, numerous short stories and articles.


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Tuesday 28 July 2009
By referring to the Inner Voice in my last blog, I’ve started something. I’ve had so many writers contact me either asking what do I mean by it, or what a load of cobblers, and others falling about laughing. So, let me try to explain what I mean. The Inner Voice (IV for convenience) is within all of us – I’m ignoring the doubters. It’s that nagging that goes on when you have written something and it’s wrong; you know it is but you can’t be bothered to do anything about itl Perhaps it is late and you’re tired or you think you know better or a gin and tonic is calling you. IV does not let you off. “That 3rd paragraph on page 112 is rubbish,” it says. Still you ignore it. But I can guarantee, from personal experience, that when it reaches editing stage, a note will come from your editor – “3rd para page 112 something wrong! “ The voice is always on duty even though you are unaware of it, pointing out repetitions, clichés and those crutch words we all have. For me it is just as well for when I write it is often on auto-pilot. I write quickly and simply don’t have time to register them, but darling IV does, remembers them and points them out later. That Inner Voice is your best friend. It is the one that you can rely on totally. If you have a decision to make about character or plot, or even which book to write then up it pops. Mine speaks to me but not everyone’s does ’s but it’s there. A gut feeling. It nearly always knows best. The most dramatic for me was during the writing of my breakout novel. I had written 30,000 words and IV, day in and day out, was wittering away. “What about Alice. Why don’t you tell her story ?” (Alice was a minor character.) I was new, I’d only had two novels published and did not know what was going on. So, feeling a bit sheepish I said aloud – “OK, I’ll give you a week. Let’s see what the story is you want to tell.” So I put my work away and began what became a trilogy with Alice the main character in every one. See why I never ignore it? The main problem is recognising it. Knowing it is there. Learning to listen. I promise you it makes everything so much easier when you do. For Jo, who wrote to me – go with it. That’s your Inner Voice giving you sound advice.


  1. Thanks for that Annie, and for the interesting example you gave regarding your character, Alice, and how she came to be. I will try to listen and trust my own IV more!
    love, Janice

  2. Fascinating post, Annie. I'm sure the IV is responsible for those things one puts in early on in the book, have no idea why and then they turn out to be crucial three quarters of the way through. You mention something, introduce a minor character, look at it/them and think Why? and IV says "leave it for now" - and sure enough, thousands of words later, you find out why you did it.

  3. Great post, Annie, and Louise, of course! I never thought of that. So many times thst happens.

  4. Brilliant. I'm in full editing mode and IV is shouting lots - to cut, to add....and I'm listening because early on I didn't and then had to go back and cut taking me a lot longer than needed to edit!

  5. I am completely with you, Annie! I think my inner voice isn't so well trained as to actually SPEAK to me - my IV manifests itself as writing brakes. If something's not right, it's a no-go scenario, if it's fine, it's full speed ahead!

    It's a subconsicous writing radar kind of thing, isn't it?

    And now I'm unreasonably excited about what Louise has said! That happens to me all the time!! I'm a bit of a retro-researcher, too, and it's frightening how many times I find something is right AFTER I've written it, when I research to check up on it...

    *wiggle* I'm all happy and excited about writing now... lovely.

  6. I came hear from Liz's blog and thoroughly endorse what you say... I'll try to pay close attention to mine when it's nagging me!