I always advise budding writers to read as many books as they can in their chosen genres. And while reading make notes. Study the different styles of writers, especially structure and descriptive prose. And they should keep telling themselves that they will eventually write much better books than any of those they’ve read.
Read! Read! Read! You can’t be a writer without being a reader first.
For the aspiring authors out there, here’s a writers tip from Allegra Houston, author of ‘Say My Name’.
Writing screenplays teaches you a lot about structure, and about getting meaning into the story that’s not spelled out on the page. I think that’s a very useful discipline for all storytellers. I also love ten-minute writing exercises. They don’t give you enough time to think: it’s improv for writers. And that’s where the sparks, the energy, the originality, come from.
Author of ‘Trust Me’, Angela Clarke shares her writing tips for aspiring authors.
Make sure that you have a strong hooky plot that can be condensed (and sold) on one or two snappy sentences. If those sentences reel people in and make them want to hear more, you know you’ve got a strong idea.
On the book tour for her second book called ‘Amber Green Takes Manhattan’, Editor-In-Chief at ‘Hello’ and author, Rosie Nixon shares her top tips for writing women’s fiction
• I think it’s important to find a subject area you know something about. I didn’t particularly want to write about the magazine world because I live and work in this area right now and I value my career too highly to spill all the secrets, but during the course of my career I have learnt a lot about the fashion industry both as a journalist and as somebody who has a keen interest, so I wrote about an area I felt I knew enough about.
• You need to go out and do your research, meet and listen to people who can provide you with a genuine insight.
• If you’re still working out how to start your novel, the best advice I can give is to just go for it – it’s surprising how quickly the words start stacking up. Writing a novel seems like start a gargantuan task at the beginning, when you think ‘I’ve got 90 000 words ahead of me!’ But if you break it down and think, ‘If I write 1500 words a week then I will have a book in about a year’, it’s not so daunting.
• Try not to keep re-reading and going over the early parts of the book, just get those words down. When I reached the end of the two books I’ve written, I went back and re-wrote a lot of the beginning because the characters had developed and the plot had changed significantly along the way. There was actually a character in ‘Amber Green Takes Manhattan’ that I completely removed from the first draft because she didn’t seem essential to the story anymore.
• I don’t have a really firm plan of where I’m going in the beginning – it’s a movable feast and I like the story and the characters to take on the journey with them, as they develop. I roughly knew how the book might end but then a whole new strand came out during the writing process, the ending changed as a result and I significantly tweaked the beginning. That said, it’s a comforting feeling once you’ve got the first draft done and then it’s like a jigsaw puzzle making all the pieces fit together perfectly and checking that every character has a satisfying
You can buy Amber Green Takes Manhattan from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.
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