As So You Want To Be A Writer, my podcast with Valerie Khoo, approaches its 35th episode this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a few more writing tips from some of the amazing authors I’ve spoken to over the past few months.
If you’d like to listen to the entire interview (or read the transcript), click on the author’s name to go through to the show notes.
“The reason that I’ve been able to put so many books out is not because I managed to throw each one together particularly quickly, but it’s because I’ve got things at different stages at any one time.
“I’ll only be writing one book because I can only focus on one thing to write, but I’ll still be able to accumulate ideas for other ones and to do that in a way that doesn’t interfere with the thing I’m writing.
“At the moment I write it down I can erase it from my brain and get back to the thing that I have to work on.”
“I think one of the great failings of the writers, people who want to write, is they leave all their energy — they leave it out there because they want to tell people about the book they want to write and they spend months or weeks or days talking about this book they want to write. They should actually spend all of that energy actually writing the thing.”
“I think writing your first novel is like being on a diet. That’s why programs like Weight Watchers are so successful, you’ve got to have something that keeps you going. Anybody can write their first chapter, but it’s a really long task to finish it.
“Either join a writers’ group or get a friend to become a writing partner, set up a contract with somebody, say, “I promise I’ll get you a chapter by such and such a date.” That sort of thing. You’ve got to trick yourself into writing the first novel.”
“It doesn’t matter whether your novel is fantasy or not, the author is always creating a fictional construct, an imaginary world. The trick is to try to make that imaginary world feel absolutely real and absolutely true, it has to have that ring of truth. And in actual fact what you want is for the reader to be, when they’re within that fictional world that you have created they long for it to be real and to wish they never had to leave that world.
“It doesn’t really matter if you are writing a contemporary suspense novel or historical fiction or fantasy, all of which I have written, the craft is all in that sense of making the world feel absolutely real to the reader, and that’s part of the magic of storytelling.”
“You’re never going to win every battle that you fight, you’re never going to get every publishing contract you go for, you do have to, as well as committing to the work, you have to commit to the industry, if this is what you want to do. You have to put the hard yards in.
“Some people it happens very easily and organically for, but others do have to slave away for years, and then once you slave away for years and you get your first novel published it’s not over, then you have to slave away writing the next one.”
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Check out So You Want To Be A Writer (the book), where my co-author Valerie Khoo and I have distilled the best tips from hundreds of author and industry expert interviews. Find out more and buy it here.
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How great are these tips! My favorite one is definitely what Kate Forsyth said. When I read a book and I love it, I just want to stay into that world. I aim to do the same thing when I work on my manuscript.
Brilliant stuff! I reckon Kate has cracked exactly what a fine novel does: we read it and “wish they never had to leave that world”. Some books I read slower and slower as the book goes on because I’m tormented by the fact that it will end and I will be left behind. x
You and me both.
Thank you! For those words of wisdom! I will use them offen in my writing!
Pearls of wisdom. x
Wonderful advice thank you Allison! I have just started my second manuscript and it’s great to have the ideas already starting to flow. I took an approach similar to Nick Earls and had the ideas flowing in the background, but not so loud I couldn’t finish the first one. It’s onward and upward from now on, doing as much as I can when I can and carving out those precious moments of time!
Fantastic Lucy! I loved that interview with Nick Earls – SO much wisdom in there.