Trisha Ashley’s advice for new writers…

I often hear people say they’re going to write a novel…eventually, when they retire, or the children have left home (do they ever, these days?) and they have the right computer, or pen, or the wind is coming from the south west…Trisha Ashley

I’ve never really understood this, because if you’re a writer, you write.  You burn to write. It’s part of who you are. And its fun, too – in fact, Stephen King says writing is the most fun you can have on your own and he’s quite right.

Perhaps it’s a fear of failure or success, but you won’t experience either unless you actually get the words down on the page, so why not start today?  If your writing U-bend needs unblocking first, you should read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and all will soon be flowing freely.  And  I’m going to quote Stephen King again (you should read his book, On Writing) when he says that you should write your first draft with the study door closed, i.e., just for yourself, then the second draft with the door opened, rewriting it with an eye to your readers.   That’s great advice – write with a red-hot pen, let the words rush out onto the page, then hone and polish till it sparkles.

For those going the traditional route and submitting to agents or publishers, a little market research in the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook beforehand can work wonders, so that you’re submitting to an agent or editor who actually handles/publishes the genre of fiction you write.

Of course, to do this you actually need to know what kind of novel you’ve written and make this clear in your synopsis, because if you don’t know, then the agent/publisher certainly won’t.

And once it’s gone, don’t wait for the novel to come back, but crack on with the next one straight away.


Of course, the rise of the e-book has now opened an enticing alternative route and for those who decide to self-publish, I’d strongly advise having your novel independently edited first, because although you may think your first baby is perfect, everyone else will see the all the little defects…and the glaring ones.  Take on board the constructive criticism of the editor without throwing a hissy fit, and then rewrite and polish before publishing, so that it’s as whole and perfect as you can make it.

The e-book market is flooded with novels, but cream will rise to the top – just make sure yours is cream and not a sachet of the white synthetic liquid they give you with your coffee on trains.

A few final snippets of advice: don’t frolic gaily across several genres in your first novel, but stick to one; try not to exceed a hundred thousand words – and please, please don’t attempt first person present tense viewpoint until you’re sure that you are as good an author as Sophie Kinsella.

Good luck, everyone – and above all, have fun!


For more information on Trisha and her novels, visit her website.Good-Husband-Material

Trisha’s new novel, Good Husband Material, is out today. Buy it here.

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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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