This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Jessica Thompson is the author of Three Little Words, which is out now as an ebook and in paperback later this year.
Can you tell us a little about your average writing day?
I like to spend hours writing at a time rather than the odd hour here and there, as I don't like tearing myself away from it when I've just got going. I normally wake up to start writing at about nine and spend most of the daytime working on my latest script.
I used to find writing at night better, but I prefer writing during the day now. I can normally write for seven hours and that's about my limit for the day, after that I start making strange mistakes! Lunch is normally eaten over my laptop, looking over what I have written in the morning. I sometimes sit in bed in the evening and edit new writing as well, which I really enjoy because you spot things you didn't notice before.
When you are writing, do you use any celebrities or people you know as inspiration?
It's impossible to avoid drawing from the world around you, and of course why wouldn't you? Day to day life always inspires me. I often include characteristics of friends in characters because it's lovely to be able to visualise so clearly when you write and really breathe life into a story. In the same way it can be really helpful to visualise celebrities too if you're aiming for a certain style or personality.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
That's a very tough question, there are many books by female authors I love. Zadie Smith is a huge inspiration, I adored her debut novel White Teeth. I thought Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin was exceptionally well written. I'd say in terms of women's fiction the one that stands out is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, that made me cry.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
I didn't used to plan books too much, but my editor and I took a different approach for book three, which I'm working on at the moment. That had a 12,000 word planning document in the end! I thought it would be good to have a go at approaching writing this way for my next two scripts and it seems to be working well so far. I normally do a first draft fairly quickly and then take lots of time over editing, with a few versions going back and forth.
What was your journey to being a published author?
I was a local newspaper journalist in Kent at the time, I was 23. I was contacted by a publisher living nearby who had read my work. I sent him some of my creative writing, which he then passed on to agent Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown. I will never forget going to meet her and just wondering if I was imagining the whole thing! I then wrote This is a Love Story. I know I've been incredibly lucky in the way I became a published author, and I'm always very thankful for that. While I've always written creatively since I was very young, it was a real surprise!
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
I think people sometimes don't realise just how much work goes into writing a book. Generally most of the stereotypes about writers are pretty accurate in my opinion. I'm a bit chaotic and can be a a tad socially awkward after a few days shut away with my laptop, lost in an imaginary world!
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Write, write, write, whenever you can. Try out different styles and voices as much as possible but also recognise your writing voice, and what works best for you. Don't be afraid to get going, don't let self doubt stop you, because sharing your work with people is always intimidating, whether you are published or not! Share your work with agents and publishers, you never know what might happen.
What are you working on at the moment?
Book three, which will come out in 2014. I'm loving every moment of it, and I've noticed how much my writing changes and develops from book to book.