Friday, 11 October 2013

Tips for would-be writers

In my view, the creation of ebooks has become a Pandora’s Box. There’s no clue as to what you are going to get out and how scary it will be.  And people, who should never put pen to paper, are suddenly writing books that are frankly awful.

That’s not saying I write any better but at least I have gone through the agony of learning the craft – and still I get shouted at by editors and my consultancy for making infantile mistakes.
The secret of a good book is in the planning. When I began I kept everything in my head. Now, more and more, I plan each chapter and each character.
In the earliest stages of my career, the literary consultancy, Cornerstones, gave me two pieces of advice. "Never be in a hurry." and "When you have finished the draft, put it away for a month."
That is super advice. Coming back fresh, you see all glitches that daily viewing has obscured.
I add a piece of advice to that: "Print it out and read it aloud."

And I don’t use friends to read my work. I did: the first rang me up and said there was a spelling mistake on page 13; the second said she always liked to know what the main character looked like on page 1. (This book was written in the first person by a boy and I wasn’t sure if boys spent their time even bothering about their appearance, never mind looking in the mirror. I hastily add this was before Justin Bieber came on the scene and boys became more vain than girls.) The third, said how wonderful my book was, and then I discovered she hadn’t even bothered to finish it!

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