A Moment With…. Margaret James

Margaret JamesDay twelve of National Novel Writing Month. So far we’ve heard from Jill Mansell who talked about planning a novel, Victoria Fox who gave us advice about discipline and Milly Johnson who chatted to us about heroes. Today, Margaret James joins us. She talks to us about what elements she believes creates a great story.

A great story needs a great premise – think of the tag lines and/or memorable quotes from some of the movies you’ve seen and you’ll soon come up with one yourself. Here are a few to get you thinking.

Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

You killed my father so prepare to die.

Houston, we have a problem.

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.

This kind of thing will always get people asking questions and wanting to know more!

Try to give your story a satisfying ending – not necessarily a happy one, but one which will feel right for your story. Or will be contentious and will get your readers talking and discussing your book, as in Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You and David Nicholls’s One Day.

Try to get the mood of the story right – don’t undercut suspense with inappropriate humour and don’t kill someone in a horrible way in your light romance.


Margaret’s new novel, Magic Sometimes Happens has just been released by Choc Lit (6th November.) It’s available from most major bookshops or click here to buy from Amazon. 

Magic Sometimes Happens creative handbook

Maragret and fellow author Cathie Hartigan have also put together The Creative Writing Student’s Handbook which is available from Amazon and is full of useful tips for writing that novel.

To read more from our NaNoWriMo feature, click here. 

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Novel Kicks
About Novel Kicks/Laura...
Novel Kicks was founded in 2009 and is run by Laura who is currently living in Hampshire, and lives with husband, Chris and her cat, Buddy. She would love to be a writer. She’s trying to write the novel she thinks so much about. She’s loved reading and writing since ‘Creative Writing’ classes in primary school. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything she can get her hands on, she loves reading, dancing like a loon, and watching Project Runway and Ugly Betty (her two TV guilty pleasures.) She also has an obsession with chocolate and Jammie Dodgers.

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