1. Do a skeleton outline of your story before you even sit down to write a line. It makes life so much easier later on, and on the days when you’re stuck.
2. Get to really know your characters. A reader will quickly lose interest if they just don’t like the hero or heroine. Layer them carefully so that they jump off the page! Even write out a detailed biography for them, to make them as three dimensional as possible. Remember you’re asking a reader to go on a 400 page journey with them, so it’s vital to get it right early on.
3. So many people say to me, ‘oh I’d love to write, if I had the time.’ You can make the time. The wonderful Maeve Binchy advises anyone time-poor to just get up two hours earlier in the morning and work then, when the house is quiet and no one will bother you. You’d be amazed at the clarity of thinking you get in the early hours and it’ll be worth the exhaustion when you see your published baby sitting on a shelf!
4. As I said earlier, there are far more literary agents now than there were certainly when I was starting out. An agent will mind you, encourage you and know which is the best publisher to pitch your work to. I’d advise anyone to send their chapters to an agent first and work from there. You’ll be glad you did!
5. This is a hard one, particularly if you’re writing from home where there are so many distractions. Even as I’m typing this, I’m looking at a big mound of ironing, just winking at me to be done and it’s SO distracting….. But remember, when you’re writing you’re working, and just as if you were based in an office or business setting, you don’t take calls, answer emails from pals or surf the net when you’re working. It takes a long, long time to get used to this one, but soon enough your family and friends will cop on not to call you during the day, or whenever is your writing time. So ignore the door, put the