World Book Day: ‘Make every word count,’ says Jim

Make every word count and believe in yourself.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 6:05 pm
Jim Shields

That is the advice from Larne author Jim Shields, who has written two novels and a non-fiction academic study and is currently working on a third book for publication in 2022.

His non-fiction Buildings and Fire was published in 1987 but it was not until he retired in 2004 that he had time to focus on fiction.

For him reading was an important part of the process - Jim says that he read fiction badly: “I always wanted to get to the punch line. I was missing so much. I discovered that in writing, I was teaching myself to read again.”

Jim, who always had an interest in the arts, “started to scribble little pieces to read at Larne Drama Circle Christmas Miscellany functions”.

Then he submitted a piece for the short story category in the Larne Museum and Arts Centre Art Competition in 2016 and won it, repeating this achievement in 2017 and 2018.

Greatly encouraged, he carried on writing; hence his first novel in 2019.

“I write enthusiastically when I have the story in my head. I’m writing when I’m thinking. So I’m writing all the time,” he says.

He sees three main challenges for authors at the present time; selling books, building their readership, and commitment as a writer.

“Enjoy writing. Don’t be afraid. Write about what you know first. Other stuff will follow. Make every word count. Believe in yourself. Be passionate about what you do,” Jim advises.

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