As you can imagine, I am often asked for advice on writing. That’s a big responsibility – not least because I firmly believe there is no right or wrong way to write – no two authors have the same system… However, I have given a lot of thought to the questions I am most frequently asked and I have written at length on these here – which I hope you will find helpful and supportive. Readers often ask me “what’s your daily word count?”. Some days, 5000 words pour out, but on other days it’s just a trickle. I try not to fixate on how much I’ve written – if my time with the novel is spent ‘in the zone’ I know that’s a productive place to be. I know it would be easier to plot and plan my books methodically, but I’d much rather the story unfolds for me as it will for my reader. I trust my characters to tell me their story. There’s that amazing stage in writing a novel where the story starts telling itself – and I’m little more than my characters’ PA, taking dictation.
Advice Part I – YOU’VE WRITTEN THE BOOK… NOW WHAT?!
In the early 1990s, I started my first novel because I wanted to write the type of book I wanted to read, but couldn’t seem to find in the shops and though I started my second novel (Chloë) once I’d finished my first (Sally), even though I didn’t have an agent, let alone a deal […]
Advice part II – DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
It took four long hard years before I had a contract – hideous waiting time only for rejection to follow rejection, and I had to confront much negativity and really tactless comments from people who did not enjoy my work. Although this can be utterly demoralizing, try not to take it personally. Just keep thinking […]
Writing Part I – IT’S A PHYSICAL THING
Writing Part II – RULES? THERE ARE NO RULES!
Early in my career, I met an author who told me he’d spent the day “working on dialogue”. I was beside myself with insecurity – and panicked that I should make Mondays my dialogue day, have Tuesdays for landscape and backdrop, Wednesdays for character description….until I thought hey! I like the way I write because it works […]
Writing Part III – JUST WRITE!!
To me, it is fundamental to think about WHY you want to write. I often have people contact me saying “I want to be a writer, how do I go about being a writer?“. To me, this is skewed. You should want to ‘be a writer’ because you want to write…you need to write! Not because you are attracted to […]
Writing Part IV – WRITER’S BLOCK – MY STORY.
I never believed Writer’s Block existed. In fact, I’m on record saying “I feel writer’s block it’s a little like claiming to have double pneumonia when actually you have a head-cold.Writing is a job, not an indulgence.Of course there are days – weeks even, when you’re not in the mood. However, you have to perform…” […]