Penny Avis & Joanna Berry

Writing Tips

With no boss, no deadlines and no guarantee you will ever make any money, how do you motivate yourself to write a book? It's not easy, but here are our tips!

Read Stephen King
The best ‘how to’ book we read by some margin was Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. It became our bible, guiding us every step of the way.

Enjoy yourself
Writing a book really is fun, particularly if you can share the experience. Join a writing group, start a book club or talk to your friends about it.? You will have loads of laughs along the way, we promise!

Know your stuff
Before you leap in with the novel of your dreams, trawl the shelves to check out the opposition. If sales are your goal, make sure really do you have an angle. If not, then by all means just indulge yourself!

Up the ante
Set yourself a deadline and tell everyone who will listen when it is, that way you create a sense of urgency. Work out a weekly word count and broadcast your progress! That did it for us.

Character building
Build detailed character profiles before you start. You need to know everything from what they look like down to the contents of their fridge, even if you never use it. No detail is too small.

Tell it in three acts
Write a summary of your book in less than four pages. Three acts and conclusion is a fairly foolproof structure. Not only does it show you the way, it helps you write faster.

Show don’t tell
Leave your readers room to add their own imagination. ‘She was depressed’, simply tells them how it is. ‘She was in her pyjamas at three in the afternoon eating chocolate’, lets them fill in the gaps.

Don’t be precious
If you behave like a skittish racehorse every time someone reads your work, then the journey won’t be much fun. Take criticism on the chin, decide quickly whether to change anything and move on.

Celebrate every step
From finishing the first chapter to writing the last line, there are endless opportunities to celebrate along the way. Keep motivated by giving yourself credit for every step you achieve, however small.

Good Luck!

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