26th May 2018
One of my best friends Whatsapped asking for advice on getting started on an idea he had for a story.
I will tell you everything I wish I knew at the start (for me this was only a couple of years ago and I’m still very much a novice who forgets her own advice).
1. Have a PLOT!!!
So read lots. All the best writers read read read. Analyse what makes a book work. Then consider what makes yours different and special, and plot each chapter.
2. Hone your “voice”. Can you hear you in the words you’re writing?
3. Most important: write.
Just WRITE. Everything. Edit later.
And write as though no-one will read it.
4. Carry a notebook/writing app at all times and make observations from real life. For instance, I’m reading The Still Point by Amy Sackville and read this sentence which is sick (as in good), you can relate to it, you’ve seen it, you get it and this is the essence of good writing (paired with a distinctly individual voice):
“By the river we sat, my sister and I, and we smoked. I liked the narrowing of her eyes when she inhaled. I liked the way she pulled her hand back and held it out defiant and the pause before she breathed out.”
Putting an action so simply into words makes it wonderful (I’m pants at this).
5: Write simply.
Never use a word with three synonyms where you can use a word with two. And cut the adjectives and adverbs unless they’re *completely* necessary!
That’s all I told him, but in hindsight, I would add these:
6: Be obsessed with your subject. You’re about to write thousands of words on it!
7: Remember to be clear. Clarity clarity clarity! If a character moves across the room, don’t presume the reader will know this.
8: Let your imagination run wild (I’m not so good at this). Don’t be scared. You’re a word magician so create spells for the mind.
9: Our five senses – include details to titillate each one.
10. Avoid cliches. If you’ve heard a phrase or idea before, or it sounds familiar; scrap it!
The list goes on and on – but to start, these are the points that would have helped me most!
❤ finally, remember, you have the right to write. Everyone does. It’s not an indulgence, it’s a life force.