DUBAI // Write from the heart and not for money to produce a bestseller, was the lesson the British author Tony Parsons sought to impart to aspiring writers at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature yesterday.
In what he termed the "great paradox of writing", the journalist-turned-novelist told attendees at his How To Write A Bestseller masterclass: "If you write to make money, you will never make money. Write out of love and out of a need to tell a story and you will make money."
The author of the bestselling novel Man and Boy said experience, imagination and research were the three essential elements of a good book.
"Writing a book is no different to sitting around a campfire and telling a story. All books are made up of these three elements."
Parsons said that one of the common mistakes that writers made was not reading widely. "The absolute fundamental of writing is that you need to be a voracious reader," he said.
Citing the example of the Harry Potter author JK Rowling, he said it was essential never to give in to disappointment.
"It is so easy to give in to disappointments. But, a lot of writing is about managing disappointments, to be able to deal with them and carry on. Take the memory of J K Rowling and never take no for an answer."
Parsons said the best way to overcome writer's block was to write a "true line", a lesson he learnt from the American author Ernest Hemingway.
"When you are stuck, write one true line. If you do that, you will never have writer's block," the author said.
"When inspiration comes, even at four in the morning, you have to write it down. It is like a song. You can't wait for the muse to come flying through the window. You have to go looking for it."
The five-day literary festival, in which more than a hundred authors took part, ends today.