This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Novelicious' own Sarah Painter talks to us today about being an author and writer. Her new book, The Language of Spells, is out now!
My day is supposed to go like this; write first thing, do school run, shut self in office and work (more writing, plus freelance journalism/blogging) until school run, then slip seamlessly into ‘mum mode’ for the rest of the day… In practice, things aren’t as neatly organised, and I’m just as likely to be tapping on my netbook when I should be cooking dinner, or watching DVD box-sets in the middle of the day for inspiration (ah-hem). Mornings are my best creative time, though, so I do try to keep those hours for book writing. I aim for 1000 words a day, but would love to write more…
The following banner is an affiliate one. That means Writing Tips Oasis receive a small % of the sale if you purchase The Novel Factory, but at no extra cost to you:
When you are writing, do you use any famous people or people you know as inspiration?
I make a collage with images and objects that represent stuff from my WIP. I use pictures of actors and musicians for my characters and find it really helps, especially in the early stages when I don’t know them all that well.
What is your favourite Women’s Fiction book of all time and why?
It’s impossible to choose just one, but my go-to comfort reads are anything by the wonderful Jennifer Crusie. I also love Ann Patchett, Maggie O’Farrell, Nora Ephron, Alice Hoffman and Kate Atkinson.
What is your writing process? Do you plan first or dive in? How many drafts do you do?
It’s ridiculously inefficient, unfortunately. I have a vague idea about my main character and the setting and I just dive in and write a terrible first draft. Then I look at the big mess and work out what the story is… How many drafts? Um. Lots.
What was your journey to being a published author?
The Language of Spells is my fourth novel and I’ve been writing and subbing seriously for over six years. I got very close with my second book and that pretty much floored me, but I read somewhere that the average number of books a person writes before getting published is seven, so that made me feel better and I carried on trying…
What do you think is the biggest myth about being a novelist?
That it will make you rich and famous. Or that easy reading equals easy writing.
What advice can you give to our readers who want to write a novel of their own?
Well, I’d definitely suggest they follow the excellent Write Your Novel posts on Novelicious (ah-hem). Other than that, it all boils down to the classic; just write. Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to be a writer, and don’t look for the ‘secret’, because it doesn’t exist.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m writing the follow-up to The Language of Spells. It is a stand-alone but set in the same world, with many of the same characters. It’s under contract so, assuming I hit my deadline, I think it’ll be out towards the end of the year.
What are your top five writing tips?
1. Write what you love. It’s bloody hard work with no guarantee of success, so you may as well enjoy it as much as possible.
2. Write regularly, even when you don’t think you have any ideas. After a while, your subconscious will start giving up the good stuff.
3. When you’re stuck; write. Still stuck? Go for a walk, then write.
4. Meet other writers. Nobody else understands the peculiarities and anxieties of the writing life or will put up with you talking about character arcs for four hours straight…
5. Read and watch films/television critically. Not to sap all the enjoyment but to hone your storytelling skills by appreciating how other people do it. Is this just a thinly-veiled excuse to watch more Joss Whedon? Maybe…