L. Ron Hubbard, prolific writer and founder of Scientology, holds the Guinness Book of Records for most published works.
1. Just write. I used to put a roll of butcher paper into my typewriter and bang out whatever came to mind. I’ll admit it; sometimes even I thought it was a load of gobbledegook, but people bought it.
2. Remember: The purpose of writing is to transmit your unique experience of the world (or in my case, the galaxy) to another person’s brain. I always remained true to my vision, and look how successful I was! Today, thousands of people – Tom Cruise! John Travolta! David Miscavige! – share my very own mental outlook.
3. Aliens. If you’ve gone a bit overboard in creating your narrative and you’re struggling to find a way to explain it all, you can always fall back on the use of aliens. Never use a dream. Only lesser writers do this.
4. Don’t reveal everything straight away. Build suspense, keep people guessing and lead them into your fiction bit by bit. Do you think anyone would have stuck with me if I had started raving about a galactic overlord blowing beings up in volcanoes 75 million years ago, because there were too many Chevies on the road, straight off the bat?
5. Immersive experience. Try to keep people as immersed in your world as possible. If this requires imprisoning them in work-camps or herding them all onto a ship for a few months to look for buried treasure you may have hidden along the Mediterranean coast in your past life as a Venetian Prince, so be it.
6. Make your readers use their imaginations. For example, I make my readers bring their own (traumatic) experiences and constructed tales of past lives to my narrative, thereby making them more engaged in my fiction.
7. Superpowers sell. This is something even a lesser imaginative mind like Marvel understood. Part of my success is down to the fact that my tales hold the promise of healing powers, infra-red vision and ESP.
8. Have a Plan B. Writing is hardly a lucrative business. If you want to make real money, you’ll have to employ your writerly skills in other ways. I used mine to start a religion, but not everyone can do this. It’s not all about taking people on an intriguing journey and character arc (or bridge) with the promise of ever-increasing knowledge and fulfilment. You also need to be a genius who can communicate with intergalactic beings and control people’s minds.
9. It is important to construct your persona as a writer. So tell everyone you sank two Japanese submarines in the Second World War instead of accidentally shelling a Mexican island. This is something even a lesser writer like Hemingway understood.
10. Critics are fair game. If someone gives you a bad review, feel free to harass, blackmail or assault them, and poison their dogs.
11. The key to becoming as prolific, rich and influential as me…To access this advice, please complete a short test at scientology.org to check that you are adequately mentally competent to handle this life-changing information that will take you to the next level as a writer. Hurry. Your success and your future depend on it!