Two Heads Are Better Than One by Robert Elland – Writing Tips

Two Heads Are Better Than One by Robert Elland – Writing Tips

Our Writing Tips posts are for people hoping to become authors and new authors. Each post is written by a published author. Today’s post is by Robert Elland author of Love & Light & Marzipan‘ which was released on 13th June 2023. This post contains affiliate links.

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Two Heads Are Better Than One

Bearing in mind that all advice is useless…my advice is neither to ‘be yourself’ or ‘be someone else’ but, where creativity is concerned, ‘be no one’. Never one to use a couple of words when a couple of hundred will easily do, let me explain… Many people say – ‘Relax – stop trying so hard and stuff will happen!’, and this I feel, is sage counsel. Whilst it is a little presumptuous in supposing that you are not already relaxed and are indeed trying too hard, it is equally possible that is precisely the situation, but you are
simply not aware of it – this has often been true in my case.

Consciousness can be a real nuisance can’t it? – especially when combined with the concept of ‘self’. For example, ‘self-consciousness’ is generally regarded as a bad thing whereas ‘self-awareness’ is thought to be essential; ‘self-regard’- bad, ‘self-examination’ (mental & physical!) is good. Follow Socrates and ‘Know thyself’ and, before you know anything else, you’ll be stomping about in Shakespeare’s boots, being true unto thine own self like a good ‘un – easy as humble pie. Except…it isn’t, is it?

Still; I’ve never understood the writer’s fear of the blank page – especially if the alternative is a page bursting to the margins with over thought, painstakingly constructed, knowingly clever but ultimately emotionally bloodless prose, designed more to impress than it does
connect. And I should know – I’ve written reams of it. What I am suggesting is that an artist needs not to seize the day but give in to it: Don’t just embrace that blank page – become it. Come on – ‘not thinking’ can’t be that difficult – just look at daytime television! (joke – whatever you do, don’t!).

When people talk of ‘Art and Craft’ they usually think of those two aspects of creativity as being harmonious twins but I would suggest they can just as easily thwart each other and should be separated. In practical terms what this means is that when scribbling one’s first draft, it should be as free a stream of (un)consciousness as possible; forget trying to find the precise words, the perfect literary encapsulation of your thoughts – you risk interrupting your flow of ideas for the sake of pursuing technical considerations that you can easily address later: This is your golden time – you are in your creative element. Only when your proud waterfall of ideas has reduced to an embarrassed dribble should you yield to the technician and consider looking to improve their presentation to the world.

When writing “Love & Light & Marzipan”, I had no plan, no pre-conceived narrative arc and no idea what I was doing, but I did have faith in the process. So, I kicked my need to control into touch and let my imagination run away with itself: Like watching a movie playing out on
the big screen of my mind’s eye, I was merely copying down what I could hear, describing what I could see – sometimes I had to hit “pause” and rewind, it was flying by so fast. What did not matter at this stage was that the dialogue was clunky, my descriptions prosaic – these were all things I could sort out in the editing, with my editor’s head firmly in place, resplendent underneath my editor’s hat.

To summarise then: Ideas first, edit after. Writing is not a single process but a combination of two entirely different activities requiring two totally different mind-sets. This has been something that took me a long time to understand, but I got both my heads around it, eventually…

About the Author

Robert Elland Two Heads Are Better Than One

Robert Elland (Rich Musgrave) is an English writer, teacher, musician and performer.

Originally from Yorkshire stock, his family moved to the Midlands when he was a small boy, where his father was a newspaper and magazine editor. Whilst dabbling occasionally in archaeology, he moved to London in the 1980s – working with a variety of acts as a session and gigging drummer and has supported, amongst others, Crowded House, The Eurythmics and Midge Ure. He also wrote, recorded and performed as The Bewlay Brothers with Tim Bewlay and Queensville Wakes with Phil Coates (elder brother of The Real Tuesday Weld’s Stephen Coates). More recently he has guested as percussionist for Ivor Novello award winning singer/songwriter Scott Matthews.

In 2013 he started writing articles and stories for various magazines and began working on longer form pieces, completing his first novel “Love & Light & Marzipan” in 2023. He is currently working on his second novel, “The Bell”, and collating “Long Shorts, Short Shorts & Very Short Shorts”, a collection of his short form writing.

Author Links


Love & Light & Marzipan by Robert Elland

Love & Light & Marzipan

Author – Robert Elland
Publisher – Matador
Pages – 232
Release Date – 13th June 2023
ISBN 13 – 978-1805140085
Format – Paperback

Synopsis writing tips 2022

A fantasy of the familiarly absurd, ‘Love & Light & Marzipan’ is a story that takes on all the big stuff: Identity, how all things connect and not being able to find the marmalade.

Following a freak accident, Henry Salmon, a young vicar, possessed by the consciousness of Trone Scorges, an alien explorer, goes into a coma. In order to save Henry’s life, Trone and his companions are forced to intervene, but when the accident is revealed to be just one of many events that should not have occurred, they are required to correct the anomalies in time, that they themselves are responsible for.

Unused to the vagaries of causality, they encounter baffling features of human existence such as freewill, coincidence and cotton buds, whilst simultaneously and unintentionally becoming more humanised in the process. It eventually becomes apparent that in order to fulfil their obligations to their human hosts, sacrifices must be made, as the worlds of the predictably ordinary and amazingly weird fight it out over who gets the last biscuit…

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