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An informal guide and source of inspiration

for new and not so new writers worldwide

Fay Knowles

Cover image: Cape Santa Maria Beach,

Long Island, Bahamas

Cover and Book Design:

Tanya R. Taylor

Copyright © 2018 Fay Knowles

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author. All advice given in this book is from the author’s personal viewpoint and should not be taken as a definitive set of instructions as found in formal educational books.


FAY KNOWLES is a Scottish author, short story writer and journalist, tossed up on the balmy shores of The Bahamas many moons ago!

She has been writing since the age of nine, penned a children’s adventure book at eleven and won a school essay competition at age fifteen. 

After leaving school at sixteen, she trained in Devon, England, as a secretary, then newspaper reporter. At the age of twenty she set off to “work her way around the world”, first emigrating by ship to Canada.

She worked as an editorial assistant for the former Canadian Food Journal and Gift Buyer, Toronto. And then, to avoid a Canadian winter and to seek sunnier climes, she took a Greyhound coach down across the U.S. from Toronto to Miami, en route for The Bahamas.

She met her future husband Erskine in Nassau a month after that and they were married the following year. She jokes: “I never did travel the world”!

As well as getting by-lines in British and Bahamian newspapers, Fay’s articles have appeared in Westward News (a former in house publication of British Telecom), the Kennel Gazette (official journal of the British Kennel Club), Christian Herald, and Sports Magazine Bahamas. 

Her writing assignments have included articles for Bahamas Information Services, travel writing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and as a photo journalist for Town Centre Mall, Nassau, Bahamas. She once worked as a secretarial “temp” for the late Sir Etienne Dupuch, former Publisher/Editor of The Tribune, Nassau, transcribing his long, captivating editorials.

Fay’s short stories have been published in The Lady magazine, London, England, and The Broadkill Review, Delaware, USA; with poetry in the UK magazine Evergreen.

Most of her short stories in “Sunbeams from the Heart – A Collection of Twelve Romantic Short Stories” were first published in The Lady or The Broadkill Review.

The author drew on her Scottish background and knowledge of The Bahamas when writing her romantic suspense novel “Love at Sunset”. And her mini-memoir “The Scottish Connection: A Journey Back” tells of her journey back to Scotland with her mother and young sons to revisit their Scottish roots. 

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DEDICATED to all my loyal readers out there who have picked up a newspaper or magazine with my stories, articles or poems in them, read my blog or newsletters, followed me on social media, or bought my books. Thank you! You have made it all worthwhile!



Chapter One: Becoming a Writer

Chapter Two: The Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of Writing

Chapter Three: Never Too Old

Chapter Four: Ideas

Chapter Five: Time Management

Chapter Six: Writers’ Groups

Chapter Seven: Overcoming Writer’s Block

Chapter Eight: Writers’ Resources

Chapter Nine: The Internet

Chapter Ten: Submissions

Chapter Eleven: Rejections

Chapter Twelve: Getting Paid

Chapter Thirteen: Promotional Writing

Chapter Fourteen: Self-publishing or Traditional

Chapter Fifteen: The Power of The Pen

Other Books by Fay Knowles


My son Gavin once said to me, “Mum, with all the years you have been writing, you should share your writing knowledge with others.” And this is what I have tried to do with this book.

I don’t have a university degree and don’t know absolutely everything about writing, of course. However, I once trained as a newspaper reporter and have had many years of experience in the writing field, with disappointments as well as triumphs. And we can all learn from our pitfalls!

Included in this writer’s guide are tips to thrust you forward as a writer - some for books, some for poetry, some for short stories or articles, a few for screenplays and some incorporating all of those together.

You can go as far as you want if you keep studying your craft and work hard at becoming a successful writer. One day your words will live on in eternity, where readers will treasure what you have written.


Becoming a Writer

WHEN I first came to The Bahamas from the UK via Canada and the United States in 1965, I was twenty-one years old and had been writing since I was nine. – No, I don’t mind giving away my age! That’s the beauty of being a writer. You can write well into your “senior” years and no one can ever fire you!

My fascination with books started when I was hardly more than a toddler. My Scottish granny sometimes allowed me into the library of the old listed house where my grandfather worked on his employers’ Stirlingshire estate. I’d attempt to read the words in the leather bound books, but my vocabulary was limited and the print too fine.

Then when I was nine years’ old I read a poem about a babbling brook that inspired me to start writing. I had discovered my passion! I couldn’t stop writing.

At eleven years old I wrote a children’s adventure book in an old shop ledger of my father’s. That ledger went with me everywhere while I was writing the book, so I could scribble the story in every spare minute – school recesses, lunch hours, after school instead of playing with my friends…. I finished the book, but sadly, it was later lost in my travels. I do have a few pages of the book that my mother transcribed into more legible writing for me when I was still a child, so perhaps I’ll be able to jumpstart the book again one day.

Beating all odds

It wasn’t easy for me to become a “real” writer. When I was fourteen years old, my mother went to the headmistress of my school and told her: “Fay wants to be a writer.” The headmistress replied: “Fay will never be a writer!” However, since then I won a school essay competition; I became a newspaper reporter; my short stories and poetry have been published in print and digital magazines; my articles have appeared in magazines, journals, the British press and Bahamian newspapers; I have written on assignment for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, cruising the Caribbean on the former “MS Sovereign of the Seas”; I’ve worked as a Photo Journalist for a shopping mall; and I’ve had books published on Amazon!

I beat all odds – and you can too!

The challenges

I left school at the age of sixteen because that’s what girls often had to do in those days. I only passed five British GCE “O” Levels (two the first time and then three more at my second attempt).

For some crazy reason I had thought I would pass all ten without even studying! Of course, I didn’t want studying to interfere with my writing plus it was a fantastic summer that year. I spent what should have been study time, sunbathing, writing and reading in the garden!

My career choices were limited as a young woman then. I could have trained to become a teacher, physiotherapist, airline stewardess, nurse – or joined the Navy! But what I really wanted to do was to work for a newspaper and train as a reporter “from the bottom up”.

I didn’t mind covering just flower shows to start with! However, only boys were accepted to work and train in our local newspaper at the time and my mother would not allow her only child to move to London at such a “tender age” to become a journalist!

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