After writing my first novel, I'd do anything to turn back the hands of time and tell that hopeful, optimistic young lady from my past these five small tips. I'd like to share them for the enjoyment of all of you here at The Faded Bookmark, and personally thank Siobhan for inviting me to guest blog!
Tip 1 - Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
Nothing's worse than writing a story and getting halfway through before you realise that you have no idea where the story is going. That is the number one cause of writer's block. Do anything in your power to avoid this! Make sure every line, every word and every chapter has been thought through from beginning to end. When you wake up each morning and have a clear view of what you're going to work on, every day is easier.
TRY THIS: Creating three boxes on a piece of paper (Beginning, Middle, End) and summarising your story in a paragraph or less.
Tip 2 - Communicate
This may sound a funny thing to do, considering that writing consists of sitting alone in front of a computer...but I really believe that it is one of the most important points. You need society to remind you who you are writing for. Read other books, they will help you to evolve as a writer and find your voice, as well as finding out what you like and dislike. Try and find a writing group where other people can help you stage by stage with helpful critiques. Communicate with your target audience, find out what they are really like. Absorb all media you can, really, because everything will help in the end.
TRY THIS: Make sure you're world-savvy. By this I mean, focus on the world around you, your current affairs, don't be an idiot and write a horror on Valentine's Day.
Tip 3 - Write What YOU Want
So, you're half way through writing your science fiction comedy with a pair of transvestite robots. Your best friend has just finished reading it, she looks at you worriedly for a fraction of a second, and then that's it. Total confidence lost. My advice to you is, forget about that. Opinions aren't facts, and if one person can't see your genius for what it is, don't worry about them. You can't please everyone all the time, but if you aim to please yourself, you won't be disappointed at the end.
TRY THIS: There's always an exception to the rule. Ignore one blind critiquer...but if 100 people have said the same thing, you might want to think about a rewrite.
Tip 4 - Write From Experience
Sometimes you might think about the things that have happened in your life, and written them off as boring and uninteresting. (unintentional pun, yay!) But don't! Everything in your life is writing material. If you're writing a horror, remember a time when you were afraid. It might not be of the same thing as your character, but you can focus on the emotions of the particular moment. Remember the five senses at all times. Writing a romance? We all know how falling in love feels, don't we? Or first heartbreak? Oh, don't get me started...
TRY THIS: Having pictures of items from people that inspire you is a great way to motivate yourself, cure writer's block, and conjure up memories.
Tip 5 - Never, Ever, Ever, Ever Give Up
There will be times when you just want to give up. A year ago I remember, having just finished publishing my book, sitting there waiting for the millions of pounds to start rolling in. Someone once told me that a book is like your baby; You have huge dreams for it, of university and riches, yet as it grows you realise that it's a lazy bum who wants to doss around the house eating donuts. You have to be pro-active. No matter what stage your book is at, you can't ever give up on it and expect it to go places on it's own. The only thing you can really do is hope that it never becomes a chore, you always have the passion for it and would start the process all over again if you had to. Good luck to all of you writers out there, I wish you all the best!
TRY THIS: A book is never truly completed, only abandoned.