John Marsden

John MarsdenJohn Marsden is the author of the critically acclaimed books Tomorrow, When the War Began Series and The Ellie Chronicles.

What is your method for overcoming writer’s block?

Someone once said that the most important part of the writer's anatomy is the bum. I agree with that! Forcing yourself to sit at a desk and making yourself write a few hundred words each day is the only way I know to counter writer's block.

What are your favorite or most helpful writing prompts?

The two most powerful mottos I have for myself when I write are "Name everything" and "Every sentence should have entertainment value." The second one is self-explanatory; the first one means that it's important to be specific, to provide detail. Not "The car went down the street," but "The old green Ford Mustang drove down Nixon Avenue."

What is the most valuable advice you received as a young writer?

I can't provide an example of a pithy piece of advice I received, but my Australian publisher, James Fraser of Macmillan Books, made me realise the importance of understanding the whole publishing industry. So I visited the warehouse and watched how they stored and packed books, I talked to editors and publicists, I met with the marketing people and the sales reps, and I chatted with lots of bookshop owners. I feel this gave me much more confidence as an author.