A Moment With…Lynne Shelby

Lynne ShelbyHello and welcome to author Lynne Shelby, whose latest novel is called The One That I Want. She joins me today to talk about her writing process, from idea to editing. Over to you, Lynne. 

An idea for a novel usually comes to me when I’m least expecting it. A sepia photo in an old family album, an overheard conversation on a train, a visit to a museum, have all inspired a story. Once I have that initial idea, I find that sooner or later my main characters appear in my head, demanding that their story be told. I only know the beginning and ending of my novel at this stage, so I make a few notes or at most a rough outline and then sit down at my laptop and start typing, introducing my hero to my heroine and seeing what happens – hopefully sparks will fly! There seems to be a moment when the main characters take over the plot, while minor characters have a habit of insisting on their own sub-plot – or even their own novel!

On a typical writing day, I aim to be at my desk in my writing room by 9.30. Before I begin writing, I read back over everything I wrote the day before to get back into the world of my story, and then, ideally, I write for about three hours, or maybe more, usually producing between 800 to 1,000 words – a couple of hundred of which will probably get deleted in the next draft!

In many ways, my actual writing process hasn’t changed a great deal since I started writing – it’s been more a case of my discovering which ‘tools of the trade’ work best for me as I write. When I was about three-quarters of the way through writing the book that was to become my first published novel, I went back and read it through from the beginning, making brief notes about the plot so far and a rough timescale over which the action was taking place. By then I had a clearer idea of where the story was going, and it was at that stage that I planned future chapters to make sure that the plot and sub-plots were tied up before the end of the book. When I wrote my second novel, The One That I Want, which was published in July 2018, I did much the same, except when I came to read through the manuscript, I decided to make a chart for each chapter with more notes about the events of the plot and each stage of my characters’ emotional journeys, and a detailed timeline. I found this made keeping the plot on track much easier when I came to the next draft, and I now do the same for each book I write.

The other way my writing process has evolved is that I edited my first novel as I wrote it, and also wrote the story in the order it would appear on the page. With my second novel, I edited far less while I was writing the first draft, and when I came to a scene that wasn’t working, I made bullet points for the main events that needed to happen, and went on to the next chapter – which meant I could see where the story was going far sooner.

Often when I’m writing, I get an idea about how an earlier chapter might be improved or a scene that might be added. With my first novel, I immediately went back and altered what I’d already written, but with The One That I Want, I jotted new ideas on a post-it note and added it in a later draft. By the time I came to write my third novel which is due to be published next year, the number of post-it notes had grown so that they spread from a noticeboard to all around the walls of my writing room.

Once I’ve written the first draft – which is a moment for a celebration – I leave it for a few days, and then begin editing, tightening the plot if it needs it, maybe writing new scenes, and reading dialogue aloud to make sure  it’s realistic. I also check that any descriptions of real locations are accurate – The One That I Want is set in London’s West End, for example – and that no character’s eyes have changed colour half-way through the book! For me, the hardest part of editing is recognising when a passage I’ve written that I like isn’t right for a particular book, usually because it doesn’t advance the plot in any way, and knowing I have to delete it – or save it in a different file, as a scene that is wrong for one book can work well in another. There will be at least a second edit, probably several, but when I realise that I’ve changed ‘the’ to ‘a’ and back again, I know it’s time to stop editing and send the book out into the world. And start writing my next novel.

the one that i wantThe idea for my current WIP came to me earlier this year when I was visiting the beautiful island of Santorini, and I knew that I simply had to write a story set in Greece. My heroine has met my hero and is unimpressed. My hero is already taking over the plot – he was supposed to be enigmatic, but he’s being very arrogant. I don’t know what’s going to happen when the two of them arrive on a Greek island, but I’m going to have a lot of fun finding out!


About The One That I Want: 

When Lucy Ashford lands a top job at a leading theatrical agency in London, work mixes with pleasure, as she literally falls into the arms of Hollywood heartthrob Daniel Miller. Handsome, charming and irresistible, Daniel is just what unlucky-in-love Lucy needs, and she is quickly drawn into his glittering celebrity lifestyle. But can she tame the A-list bad boy or is she just one more girl in Daniel’s long line of conquests? And then there’s up-and-coming actor Owen Somers, fiercely talented but as yet uncast in a starring role. After she takes him onto the agency s books, Owen and Lucy’s friendship slowly grows. If she looks closely, Lucy’s leading man might be right before her very eyes…


About Lynne: 

Lynne Shelby writes women’s contemporary fiction/romance. Her previous novel, French Kissing was released in 2015. Her latest novel, The One That I Want, was published in July 2018.

Say hi to Lynne on Facebook:   www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter, Twitter: @LynneB1, Instagram:  lynneshelbywriter or her website: www.lynneshelby.com

The One That I Want is published by Accent Press and is available to buy now. Click to view on Amazon.co.uk


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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