The most important thing to remember is that we live in a digital age. You don’t have to worry about saving paper. Stick down every sh*tty sentence that comes into your head. Write, write, write and edit afterwards. Editing as you go will only slow you down.by
Crime writers are often asked how to create suspense. Now, of course there are tricks of the trade and we all use our fair share of twists and cliffhangers. We all choose when and how to reveal key pieces of information. BUT, for me, they key to creating genuine suspense is really very simple. You need to give the reader characters with whom they can genuinely engage. If you do that, if you create well-rounded characters, you will have suspense from the very first page.by
Keep your readers gripped by giving them enough new information/action to keep them guessing and interested – but not so much that it falls onto them in one go. Pace is vital.
If you’re not sure if your ‘reveals’ are in the right place, make a graph with chapter number on the left and plot on the bottom. Chart each plot point/reveal with a mark by the chapter it appears in. Your flat points will soon be exposed.by
“It took me an age to actually sit down and start writing. All the fears as to whether I could actually do it and whether I was good enough. And then, one day I sat down and I started.
All you need to do it sit down and start. Write, write and write. Forget quality control. Get your story down, let the words flow from your brain to the page. Live and feel your story. Become the characters. And keep the momentum going by continuing to write. Whenever you can.
The feeling when it’s all down is immense. You did it, you told the story that you dreamed you would. You are halfway there. And now your story is a huge screwed up ball of paper that with a lot of careful editing will soon have all the creases flattened out.”by
Halfway through your project it will all seem impossible and you will be tempted to jack it in and begin another, far more exciting idea. Trust me, that idea will get difficult halfway through, too. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You may not find your voice or style straight away. Write the book you would love to read yourself.by
My advice? Keep going, keep going, keep going. Don’t look back. If I stop after every chapter and try to edit what I’ve done, I get sucked into changes and tweaks and I never push on with the word count. This can shake your confidence, especially if you’re a perfectionist. So much will change when you’ve finished – scenes you thought were terrible suddenly have a new significance; likewise others you loved might no longer be needed. You can’t know your parameters until you’ve written ‘The End’ and you have an entire book. Keep going until you get there, a little every day.
For more information on Victoria, visit http://www.victoriafox.net/by
Hi Laura, thanks for asking me on the blog today, and best of luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo!
Writing recurring characters is a bit like visiting an old friend. Of course you love her, but you also know all about her flaws. And so do your fans.
Plus: You already know the character. This makes it easy to put her into a new situation and know how she’ll behave.
Minus: You already know the character. It can be difficult to sustain your enthusiasm for the book over 80,000-100,000 words.
Plus: Continue readingby
Write because you want to tell stories, not because you ‘want to be a writer’
Look after your posture – this is ESSENTIAL!
Don’t spend too long faffing and editing – that’s just a fancy way of procrastinating.
I used to have to leave my apartment to work on “The Wedding Guests.” I’d lock myself in my friend’s beach house where I had no cell phone reception, or I’d go to my Aunt Nancy’s and hide in the basement where there was no TV. I had to block out all distractions. I had no attention span whatsoever. But I’ve matured since then. (Sort of.) Now that I’m writing my second book, I don’t have to hide in remote locations. I can write in my bedroom, and the décor is all the motivation I need. On the wall in front of my writing spot (my very fluffy bed) is a painting of cotton candy, my favorite sweet. My friend’s ex-husband, a professional artist, made it for me as a housewarming present. They decided to divorce shortly after I hung the piece on my wall. I almost took it down after they split, but then I remembered that it’s my friend’s hand in the painting. She was the model, holding up the cone of cotton candy while he tried to get it down on canvas. There’s something inspiring about having the finished product nearby as I write. My friend’s hand looks so tough, so determined — just like she was in real life after the divorce. I see her strong grip and I think, “Keep moving.”by
Whether you’re an author writing a novel, a gardener on an allotment, or an evil genius planning to take over the world, if there’s one thing you need, it’s a good plot. Assuming you’re reading this because you’re doing NaNoWriMo (so we’re talking about novels here), put simply, a plot is the sequence of events that make up a story – and while the order of those events (and of course, the events themselves) are up to you, getting that order (and the events) right is crucial if you’re going to engage the reader. I’m a romantic comedy novelist, and while everyone knows how romantic comedies go (girl meets boy, stuff happens, girl and boy end up together), it’s always helped me to think about my plots (the stuff that happens) not as HOW they get together, but as what STOPS them from getting together. Some writers plot their whole novels before writing a word, others just sit down, start writing, and see how the plot develops. I’ve tried both approaches, and probably prefer the latter. But if you like to plot beforehand and are having trouble, you’ll be pleased to hear seven ready-made ones already exist for you to choose from for FREE (don’t believe me? Just type ‘The Seven Basic Plots’ into Google). Presumably you know the start and end points of your novel – then ‘all’ you need to do is pick the one that applies to your story/setting/characters and get writing!by
While I need to have a permanent writing space, somewhere I can spread out and make as much of a mess as I like, I often find that changing where I write can help me be more productive. Last week I spent eight hours writing in a cafe. I was stiff and hyper-caffeinated afterwards, but I got a lot of work done. My local library also has study carrels, which are great because they’re anonymous cubes with no distractions at all…though occasionally I think I startle the person in the next carrel by laughing aloud! Sneakily, against the rules, I smuggle a flask of tea into a carrel and spend hours making that bland space full of my imaginary characters.by
When people ask me for advice about writing, I always say the same thing: Write what YOU love. Then your writing will come across as genuine, and heartfelt, and if you enjoy it reading it back, then someone else definitely will.
Also if you think your story is just as good or preferably better than those you’re seeing on the bookshelves, then never give up on your dream, no matter how many rejections you may get at first. Because someone some day will read your work and love it just as much as you!
‘Write. Seriously, it astonishes me how many people tell me they want to be a writer but then confess they never write anything more elaborate than a shopping list. Write everyday even if it’s only for 20 minutes. Discipline is key. You also need to listen. Be inspired by everything that is going on around you.’by
‘I find social networking useful in all kinds of ways. It makes me visible, it allows readers in interact with me (which is a privilege) and allows me to get news about new books or workshops out into the world. It’s also a great source of research – not so much factual research, but opinions and ideas. For example: Is it OK to use text to ask for a second date? (Answer: yes!) My hero’s going to a fancy dress party. What should he go as that’s hot? (Answer: devil in lycra.) Twitter and Facebook seem to know the answers to any question in the world.’
For more information on Sue and her books, visit her website at www.suemoorcroft.comby