Categories
Craft

The Top 5 Things I Learned from Working with an Editor

Yes, editors do hire editors, and that includes me. I have learned a lot from working with an editor. When it comes to your own work, you are often so involved that you often need someone else to read it before you send it out to readers. That can come in many forms – it might be that you’re looking for a beta reader (someone who reads your touched up manuscript), an alpha reader (someone who reads your rough draft), or you may decide to go for an editor for a more in-depth analysis. Here are five things I learned from hiring an editor.

1) They can help you see your own work clearly. 

It isn’t easy to see your work when you’re so close to it. When I recently sent my first five chapters to an editor, I took out a prologue before I sent it. This was for a few different reasons, but I was so familiar with the world that I had created that I didn’t realise the prologue missing would cause many issues. Ummm…I was wrong! Some important world-building was in that prologue, and so by removing it before sending, I made my editor say…’Where is this exactly?’ An interesting lesson! The world-building throughout the rest of my novel is tight, so I’m not worried about this. Now I know that the first few chapters require more world-building and detail if I want to remove that prologue.

2) Peer review is valuable. 

It can be scary to send your work to other people, but peer review always makes it stronger. Hearing what other people think, what they expected, and how they feel about your story will allow you to make it so much better.

3) They save you time. 

Yes, although it can feel like you’ve been given more work when an editor comes back to you with a report, they are actually saving you a lot of time. They are ploughing through the manuscript for you, marking up those bits that need changing, and providing you with information that it would have taken hours to find yourself.

4) They give you ideas you may have never considered. 

We all need a fresh pair of eyes sometimes, and an editor can help you see a new direction for your work, a character, or a scene. Sometimes, it’s even something that you may have never considered before.

5) They can spot inconsistencies you cannot. 

As we are so close to our stories, we can miss inconsistencies or repeated details. After all, we know the world so well, so when this isn’t communicated to the reader well enough, it won’t always be easy to spot. An editor can help you see those issues, including other common occurrences such as repetitive words and phrases.

What have you learned from hiring editors? Share with me because I would love to know! 

If you are looking for an editor, get in touch today. I would love to help you polish up your work and make it shine, and I am currently booking from Spring 2022.

If you are looking for a similar read, check out the following:

4 Ways to Edit Your Own Writing
Online Writing Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel

Categories
Craft

How to Create Tension in Your Writing

There is nothing better than reading a book that you just can’t put down. The pages are filled with intrigue, tension, and you absolutely have to find out what happens next. Creating tension in your writing is important because you want your reader to be engaged, involved, and excited to keep turning those pages.

So, how can we create tension in writing? Let’s dig in.

Conflict 

This is the act of creating a problem for your characters. It can be broken down into two categories:

Internal conflict

Your character shouldn’t be given what they want just because they demand it. Internal conflict looks like a character battling with their thought process, desires, or a fundamental part of who they are. It might be that they are haunted by a memory and cannot move past it. The internal conflict might drive your character forward on their journey or try and hinder their progress. However it is formed, internal conflict can change our actions, the way we look at a situation, and can create a tension that leaps from the page.

External conflict 

Your poor character, not only do they have all these internal battles, but now they have an external one too! External conflict is exactly that, something that the character needs to overcome in the real world. Perhaps they are being hunted down by the local werewolf, for example, and every day it gets a bit closer…

Cliffhangers

Often offered at the end of a chapter, cliffhangers are a great way to build tension on the page. It could be that you surprise the reader with a piece of information they didn’t know, reveal something shocking, or even stop the action halfway through so that the reader has to read on to get the goods!

Turn the tension dial up and down

If your novel is pure tension through and through, it can be a stressful read, and not in a good way. In some cases, it can desensitise your reader to the tension, meaning they are no longer on the edge of their seats. Instead, turn it up and down as though on a dial. The calmer moments will provide a type of respite for your reader and give those times of tension a bit of extra pizzaz!

Time

A time limit is an extremely useful tool as a writer. It doesn’t have to be a literal clock ticking either, but a deadline on the horizon can really give your reader a taste of that tension your characters are experiencing.

What are your tips for creating tension in your writing? Please share them with me today! 

Want a hand with building tension? Get in touch. 

If you found this useful and want to read something similar, check out the following craft blog posts:

5 Things to Avoid When Writing Dialogue 
Which Story Outline Method is Best For You?
5 Books on Writing That Will Improve Your Craft

Categories
Craft

When Should You Put a Work in Progress Aside for a New Idea?

Your work in progress is waiting for completion, but you want to move on. When should you give in to this feeling? Oh, it’s a difficult question. Many writers, myself included, have a long list of great novel ideas that have come to us throughout the years, and sometimes that list is more than attractive. But how do we know if it’s time to put one project aside for another, or we are just experiencing ‘The Dip’?

As an aside, ‘The Dip’ is that murky middle ground. Writing a novel is not easy, and it can get challenging when you reach the middle section. This is after the initial excitement about the work and before the sight of the ending, and it is a place where many writers struggle.

The Dip makes a writer want to throw in the towel and move on to a new, more exciting project. But, if that feeling is given in to each time we experience it, we would all end up with a pile of half-written novels.

So when do you know it’s time to move on and put your work in progress aside? 

I recently had experience with this. Last year I was 20,000 words into a novel that had taken months of research to plot, and I decided to put it aside to work on something else. The new story flew out of me, and before I knew it, I was typing ‘The End’ on The Birth of Ida. Now I am 40,000 words into the companion novel The Dedworth Shame. Here’s what I considered before moving on, and what I would recommend you consider too if you’re feeling unsure about your current project!

Am I enjoying writing this? 

We’ve all heard that saying, ‘No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.’ (Robert Frost). Well, the fact is that I was just not enjoying writing my novel. It wasn’t that I was in The Dip, because I didn’t have that gut feeling that what I was writing would be worth it in the end. And, if I wasn’t enjoying writing the work, I was pretty sure that a reader probably wouldn’t enjoy reading it. If you’re slogging away, every paragraph is an uphill battle, and you’re not enjoying writing, ask yourself why this is.

  • Is it the story you are telling?
  • Are you passionate about it?
  • Is it something that you would pick up and read yourself?

The Birth of Ida was such a pleasure to write, and that was a huge lightbulb moment for me. I was driven to finish the novel because it was a story I knew I wanted to tell. There’s a difference between pushing your way through a novel that isn’t working for you and finding a story that flows out of you and working through the tricky bits.

Why do I want to move on? 

This is a fundamental question. Here are a few potential answers:

Difficulty:
If you want to move on because you are finding a current chapter challenging to write, it’s best to seek help. It might be that your current skill level doesn’t quite meet the concept that you have thought of. That’s okay – it just tells you that it’s time to jump into some craft education before you continue. It’s a great thing when our work helps us grow as writers.

If you’re not sure what you need more craft education in, it’s time to download The Time to Write workbook. Within that workbook, you will find a page and task dedicated to exactly that!

Scale:
If you want to move on because the scale of your vision is simply too big, that’s something that can be fixed in a re-write. It might be time to take a step back, look at the plot, and simplify your story to one that you feel you can tell at the moment.

Time:
You can’t find the time to finish your work. Well, this is a tricky one. If you aren’t prioritising your work in progress but feel that you would a new project, that says a lot for the enjoyment you are getting out of it. I would recommend that you take some time to journal on these feelings and investigate what’s stopping you. This dilemma is perfect for 1:1 coaching, and together, we could work out the next best step for you.

Length of effort:
You’ve been writing the same novel for a very, very long time, and it’s still not getting anywhere. If this is the case, then yes, you have my permission to put it to one side and try to write something fresh and new. They say that a change is as good as a break – and I think that’s true. It’s not to say that you will never pick up your WIP again, just that you need to fall in love with writing again. That’s okay. It’s all a process.

Conclusion:

Overall, my advice for this tricky area is to trust your gut instinct. You know better than I what stage you are in with your current work in progress. Be wary of Shiny New Idea syndrome – we all reach a stage in our current novel where a new idea seems like it would be ‘the one’. Instead, spend some time investigating your feelings and working out why you would like to move on. Be patient and honest with yourself.

You’ve got this writer. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Want to read something similar? Check these out!

Reasons Not To Write Every Day
5 Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel
7 Ways to Get Rid of Writer’s Block

Categories
Coaching Craft

Writing Coach Vs Editor: What’s the Difference?

Should you hire a Writing Coach or a Developmental editor? What is each for, and how do you know how to move forward?

I have noticed that this question is bringing people to my website organically, so I wanted to answer it clearly so that people have that answer.

What is a Writing Coach?

A writing coach, also known as an Author Coach or Book Coach, is a trained coach who helps you through any writing issues. I have helped writers find the time in their busy schedules to write, create a writing routine that works for them, develop their novel ideas, and much more.

What is a Developmental Edit?

A Developmental Edit is an edit that focuses on the story. It is concerned with narrative, consistency, characterisation, dialogue – basically everything but the copy edit! When I provide a Developmental Edit to an author, it consists of my going through the work at least twice, and providing the client with an Editor’s Report and in-text comments and corrections, as well as an hour-long discussion/coaching session afterwards to discuss the work.

What is the difference between a Writing Coach and a Developmental Editor?

The difference is the focus. For example, I am both a Writing Coach and an Editor who offers Developmental Editing. When I am hired to coach, I have a series of sessions with the writer, and we work toward their goals through a series of jointly agreed action points. When I am hired to provide a Developmental Edit, I focus on the draft of a novel and write up an Editor’s Report, instead of live sessions with the author.

What stage should I be in to hire a Writing Coach?

You can be in any stage to hire a Writing Coach, from idea to fifth edit! As a coach, I can focus on whatever you would like to focus on. Sometimes that’s at the very start of a novel and is all about your idea, and how you would like the book to be written. At other times it’s after publication, and you want to work on marketing. As a writing coach, we can work together on any writing goal, however varied.

What stage should I be in to hire a Developmental Editor? 

To hire a Developmental Editor, you need to have a novel pretty much written. It could be that you hire someone to edit at a date a few months into the future, with the understanding that you will have completed the novel by then. However, the most important thing to know is that you will be required to hand over a manuscript to the editor on the agreed-upon date, so get writing!

What are the pros of hiring a Writing Coach?

As a writing coach, I can help you achieve your literary dreams. By holding space for you, identifying action points, and asking the questions that drive you to dig deep, you will leave a session with more clarity and purpose. Ultimately, coaching can help you succeed in your goals.

What are the pros of hiring a Developmental Editor? 

A Developmental Edit can give you expert advice on your novel. It will leave you with a roadmap of how to move forward, what needs improving, and how you can make your story the best it can possibly be.

Can I hire someone to do both?

Yes! In fact, I offer a great deal for someone who is looking for a coach AND an editor. This consists of six months of weekly coaching AND a full Developmental Edit when you are ready. If you want to know more about it, click here to find out – https://www.rachelgrosvenorauthor.com/coaching/

So, now you know the difference between hiring someone to be a Writing Coach or a Developmental Editor, and what is best for you.

As a Certified Professional Coach, trained by an ICF company and with an ILM Level 2, you can trust that my coaching skills are tried and tested. As a writer with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, and over six years of lecturing in adult education and at universities, I’m a professional writer specialising in helping others find their way forward. 

Any questions? Feel free to get in touch.

Want to read something similar? Check these out!

What is a Writing Coach?
4 Ways to Edit Your Own Writing

Categories
Uncategorized Craft

3 Things I Did To Level Up My Writing Game

Are you looking to level up? Me too! I’m always looking for a new way to improve my writing, process, research, and more.

If you are ready to raise your game, read on for the three things that I did to take me from ‘barely writing’ to ‘novel completed’.

1) Writing Courses. 

I cannot overstate how much creative writing classes help with writing. You don’t just learn about the craft, and the bare bones of the work, but you understand how vital writing is. That, for me, is the most important lesson of all. Whether this is your hobby, your passion, your side hustle, your ambition – whichever label writing has in your life, investing in it makes it more important. It makes you work harder on it, and it moves the act of writing up your list of priorities.

Because I know how valuable creative writing classes are to me, I wanted to make sure that I offered something similar to other writers. That’s why I created my Novel Writing Masterclass: It’s Time to Write Your Novel. From years of teaching and lecturing in Creative Writing in the classroom and at university, I created this programme to be a one-stop shop for all who want to write a novel. It goes through finding the time, discovering the idea, writing, publishing, and more. I made the classes bite-size to fit into a busy schedule, and it’s packed with fun tasks and worksheets that can help you become the writer you want to be.

If you don’t feel ready to invest in a writing course, you can invest in other ways. I have created the It’s Time to Write Workbook for this very reason – for the price of a cup of coffee, you can invest in your writing process. This workbook launches on 17th September and will take you through the process of:

  1. Finding the time to write 
  2. Creating a writing routine that fits with YOUR schedule
  3. Identifying writing areas you would like more information on
  4. Learning how to set and achieve writing goals

If you are ready for a taste of coaching and want to see a way forward in your creative life, this is the workbook for you.

Here’s what Emma had to say:

‘Love the layout, very visual. It’s really useful, and I love how everything is broken down, so you’re not so overwhelmed with the task at hand.’

Here’s what Hannah had to say:

‘This workbook is a great place to start. Knowing what my Creative Data is and using that to structure my time has been eye-opening. There’s real value in providing a structure that makes the seemingly huge (and very intimidating) task of sitting down to write achievable.”

As a writing coach trained by an ICF accredited company with a PhD, MA and BA in Creative Writing, you can trust that this book has been created carefully, using tried and true coaching practices informed by writing knowledge.

2) Community.

Being a part of a community of writers has driven me to do better, write more, and keep going. From the classroom to Instagram, to the small group I run on Facebook (if you are interested in joining, search ‘It’s Time to Write Your Novel’ in groups and request!), a writing community and shared experience helps everyone level up.

3) Reading. 

To be a good writer, it helps to be a good reader. The more you read, the more you learn about grammar, plot, characterisation, what you enjoy, what you don’t like, and just plain everything to do with writing. It is the most valuable thing a writer can do to improve their writing. I find it really helps to set a number of books to read in one year, and work toward that. This year, I am trying to read forty. I’m on track so far!

What has helped you level up as a writer? 

Are you looking for similar reads? Check out the following.

The Reset Week – Investigate Your Writing Process
How to Harness Your Writing Motivation

Categories
Craft

5 Things to Avoid When Writing Dialogue

‘Writing dialogue is not always easy,’ she said, shifting in her seat.
‘Okay, will you tell me more?’ I stared at the quotation marks she had used, curious.
‘Oh, these? I’m British. Yep, if I were American, I would use double quotation marks. But, the most important thing is being consistent. Anyway, I’m getting off track. Let me tell you about some mistakes to avoid when writing dialogue.’

1 – Not Varying the Character Voices

People speak differently, and that means that characters should talk differently, too. The way that people speak comes from many different places. It is derived from where they were brought up, how they are feeling that day, what situation they are currently in, and who they are with. For example, I don’t speak to my partner the same way I speak to a client. So many different things change dialogue, and relationships with other people and characters is right up there in importance. You may have an extremely confident secondary character, and a less sure of themselves main character. Just by this distinction alone, these two people should be speaking differently. So, think about your characters as real people, and allow their personal voice to shine through.

2 – Overusing Dialogue Tags

He said, she said, they said…it can all get a bit much when dialogue tags are overused. Trust that your reader is intelligent enough to understand who is speaking without constantly being reminded. It is absolutely fine to use these tags but do so with restraint. Overuse can pull a reader from a story.

3 – Too Much Exposition

‘But Sally, don’t you remember that day when your car drove off the cliff, and we realised that our mother was not who she said she was?!’

In real life, people don’t remind us of things that have happened in this way, and when it occurs in a novel, it can feel disconcerting. Exposition needs to happen, but aim to use it in subtler ways. For example, you can use narrative, setting, a character’s thought process. You can use exposition in dialogue, but make it as subtle as it would be in real life. For example, the above quote might read:

‘Sally, I don’t want a repeat of last year.’

Then, the narrative could go into an inner monologue with some hints of the car driving off the cliff etc. Remember that your reader is astute, so lay down those breadcrumbs of a memory, and keep them coming back for more.

4 – Leaning on Stereotypes

Our characters shouldn’t be stereotypes, so the trick is to research before writing their dialogue. If they are from somewhere you don’t know too well or haven’t been to, listen to some audio to try and get a sense of the different way people speak.
Take me, for example. I am from Birmingham, UK, and not many people outside of Birmingham believe it. That’s because there is a stereotype of a Brummy accent derived from a specific part of Birmingham. However, I still say a few things that give away my hometown, like ‘Mom’ and ‘tuth’.
So, never rely on the stereotype. It’s far more realistic to create your character’s dialogue based on your research.

5 – Making It Too Realistic

This might sound confusing upon first reading it, but bear with me! People speak in complex ways, stumble over words, we all say ‘Um’ a lot mid-sentence, and sometimes we use the wrong words entirely. While this is all great for writing dialogue, as it makes it realistic, there is such a thing as going overboard on realism. Reading dialogue with constant ‘Um’s’ and ‘Ah’s’, significant pauses and silences, and more will get frustrating. Be realistic, but not at the expense of your novel.

So there you have it! Five things to avoid when writing dialogue. If you found this helpful, please share it with another writer!

Got any tips to add? Let me know!

If you’re looking for a similar read, check these blog posts out:

What Does It Mean to Write What You Know?
5 Books On Writing That Will Improve Your Craft

If you need help with your dialogue or something else writing-related, please get in touch. I would love to chat! You can book a discovery call yourself by checking out the calendar here.

Categories
Craft

Which Story Outline Method is Best For You?

Whether you are a plotter, a pantser or a plantser, it can be confusing knowing which story outline might work best for you.

After all, there seem to be plenty of books out there suggesting different ways of plotting your novel. So, let’s dig a little deeper into the options so that you can make a creative decision! I’m going to outline five methods because there are a lot, but these are the ones that I believe are most common (based on empirical observation).

Your Story Outline Options:

The Save the Cat Method (click here for a link)

Now then, this is a detailed plan and method, and if the following resonates with you and you feel excited about it, I would strongly recommend borrowing / buying the book, which will help you through the process.

Jessica Brody breaks this method into fifteen ‘beats’ or plot points, as follows:

1: Opening Image. (0-1)%

Who your character is, and what their life is currently like.

2: Theme Stated (5%)

A suggestion of what the main character’s journey will be.

3: Setup (1% – 10%)

Exploring the main character’s current life and issues.

4 – Catalyst (10%)

A life-changing event.

5: Debate (10% to 20%)

Reaction to the life-changing event.

6: Break Into 2 (20%)

A change, perhaps leaving for a journey, a decision to try something new, etc.

7: B Story (22%)

Intro to a secondary character.

8: Fun and Games (20% to 50%)

Seeing the hero in the new world – succeeding or failing.

9: Midpoint (50%)

A false victory and a plot twist.

10: Bad Guys Close In (50% to 75%)

Things look like they’re getting better for the main character, but the baddies are still coming.

11: All Is Lost (75%)

The lowest point of the novel, something terrible happens.

12: Dark Night of the Soul (75% to 80%)

The darkest hour for the main character.

13: The Break Into 3 (80%)

The character sees how they can move forward.

14: The Finale (80% to 99%)

The main character saves the world / comes out of the other side of their struggle.

15: Final Image (99% to 100%)

How the journey has changed the main character’s life.

As you can see, this is an in-depth plot outline that gives you the opportunity to create a novel with a tight narrative structure.

The Three Act Method

Oh, it’s a classic, and one that I enjoy. This story outline involves breaking your plot down into (you guessed it) three acts. Honestly, I like it for its joyful simplicity and flexibility. It’s also the method we are taught at a very young age – beginning, middle, and end. It is also sometimes called:

Set-Up:

Setting up the world of your characters, including exposition, world-building, and a problem for your main character.

Confrontation:

The rising action that leads to the midpoint and ultimately something similar to ‘The Dark Night of the Soul’.

Resolution:

The climax and fallout of this, the resolution of the tale.

Within these confines, you will see that there is a similar language to the Save the Cat Method…and actually, that’s true of a lot of plotting and story outline methods. They do share a language and often similar methodology. However, the three act structure can be more flexible than other structures because it can be as detailed as you like. So, if you’re not someone who loves to plot, but you like a brief outline, you can break your story idea into Set-Up, Confrontation, and Resolution without going into specifics.

The Snowflake Method

Randy Ingermanson created this method, and it is laid out as follows:

1: Write a one sentence summary of your book.

2: Write a paragraph long summary. 

3: Write down each main character, including: Name, storyline, goal, conflict and revelation. 

4: Turn every sentence of your paragraph long summary into its own paragraph. 

5: Use your character information to create more detailed character sheets.

6: Expand each paragraph into an individual scene.

7: Write!

Randy does go into detail about a step that he no longer takes, and also recommends using an excel spreadsheet. You can find more information on this method here, so if this brief description has you shouting ‘Yes! That’s my method!’ Check it out.

Freytag’s Pyramid 

Another classic, that I have to say, I LOVE. In fact, I usually use this and the three act method to create a super plan that works for me. This one is one that you have probably seen before. It’s the shape of a pyramid, with the peak being the climax. This is broken down into the following steps:

Exposition

Rising Action

Climax

Falling Action

Resolution 

As far as outlining methods go, I find this useful as, similar to the three act method, you can make it as detailed as you please. The flexibility in this works for me personally.

The Synopsis Method 

For those who don’t enjoy plotting, this method is excellent. This is essentially writing down the story before you’ve written the story! Usually, we write the synopsis at the end of writing our novel, but this method turns that idea on its head, and asks you to summarise the novel before writing it.

So there you have it, a brief dive into five story outlines. Which would work best for you? That’s for you to decide!

Found this post helpful? Share it with another writer!

Unsure which is best for you, but know you want to start plotting? That’s okay, get in touch today, and we can have a chat about it. Investigation into your writing process is always worthwhile. I also teach my favourite forms of plotting in my novel writing masterclass, and take you through the steps using a story you know well. So, if you’re looking for some extra plotting help, that’s a great place to start.

Are you looking for a similar read?

Online Writing Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel

5 Books on Writing That Will Improve Your Craft

 

Categories
Craft

Online Writing Tools That Can Help You Write Your Novel

When Dickens sat down to create and write, he was faced with far fewer distractions than we are. But, he also had less to help him.

Sure, he could go hang out with Yates and Thackeray, but he didn’t have access to the wealth of online writing tools we have today.

So, we may count ourselves as lucky writers that we can find an answer to our queries in seconds today, and that there are online tools made just for us.

Are you ready to write your novel and would love a helping hand?
Here are some online writing tools that can help you reach your goal!

Here are some of my favourite online writing tools

Scrivener

An online tool for writers who just need to write! Scrivener can help you organise your work, and many say it is easier to use than Word. It also helps with formatting, a process that some authors find laborious.

Grammarly

Even the free version of Grammarly is quite helpful! It doesn’t just check spelling for you, but it offers clear grammar information that can be very helpful.

It’s not always right, so do bear in mind that carefully checking is sometimes needed, but overall it’s an app that can make your writing tighter.

Evernote

Evernote is your virtual novel scrapbook! This app is so great for those moments when an idea suddenly hits you, and you need somewhere to scribble it down.

The best thing about this is that you can add photos, videos, voice notes, tasks and keep them all in one handy place, so you don’t have to scramble around to find them again.

Cliche Finder

I love this tool because it’s not always easy to find those cliches in our work. After all, the way we speak is often through cliches, so it makes sense that those well-known phrases sneak into our text.

Cliches are not always bad, but this tool helps make you more aware of the content of your writing, and that’s a good thing.

And finally…The Novel Writing Masterclass

Yep, I’m going to include the online course that I have created! It’s Time to Write Your Novel: The Masterclass is a bite-size course designed to take you through the stages of writing your novel.

It includes 40 classes that have been created to fit into your busy life, with worksheets. The idea is that you watch one and then move onto the next one when you have completed the requested step.

This means that you are being held accountable for your creative actions and are stepping through the process of planning, creating, writing, and next steps.

As a Doctor of Creative Writing with years of experience lecturing and tutoring adults, I’ve created this course to be fun, easy to watch, and informative and help you write the novel you know you can write.

Here’s what we chat about:

  • Time blocking
  • Coming up with ideas
  • Getting in the creative zone
  • Creative Data
  • Characterisation
  • Plot
  • Setting
  • Character arcs
  • Secondary and tertiary characters
  • Grammatical person
  • Tense
  • Planning your novel
  • Word Count
  • Dialogue
  • Research
  • Incentives
  • Motivation
  • Accountability
  • Blurbs
  • Plot holes (and how to fix them)
  • Peer reviewing
  • Editing and Self Editing
  • Developing a thick skin
  • Self Publishing
  • Traditional Publishing
  • Formatting
  • Marketing
  • Agents
  • Synopsis
  • Cover Letters
  • Social Media for Authors

If you are ready to move forward with your writing, to go from ‘I don’t know how to write this‘ to ‘I’ve got this novel written‘, then get in touch.

I’ll be going live with my new website and this masterclass very soon, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Alright, those are my suggestions for online writing tools!

Assistance is available, and you are not on this writing journey alone, writer. If you want to talk about 1:1 coaching, you need an editor, or you’ve just got questions in general about how I can help you – get in touch. I would love to talk to you about your writing!

If you found this post helpful, share it with another writer!

Looking for something similar to read?

Check out these blog posts below:

Categories
Craft

5 Tips to Help You Finish Writing Your Novel

The rumours are true; I can give you five tips and tricks for finishing your novel. But, before I do, I want you to highlight the most important one…taking steps toward putting these into action.

Because, after all of the tips, tricks, and general advice one writer can give another, the most valuable is this: taking imperfect action will get you to your goal.

1. Taking imperfect action

What is imperfect action?
Imperfect action means throwing out the idea that everything you do and create needs to be perfect and committing to taking action that gets you toward your goal instead.

A first draft is a great example. When you’re writing a first draft, the idea is to just get the story down on paper. It doesn’t matter if later you will need to change that characters name, or if actually, the villain should be crueller, or even that you have continuously misspelt the word ‘sandwich’.

Take imperfect action and allow yourself to make mistakes, get work done, and achieve your dream.

2. Create a realistic writing routine

Oh, I do go on about creating a writing routine, don’t I?
Yes, and here’s why: it changed my life.
It enabled me to write two novels in a year, complete a full-time Creative Writing PhD while working two jobs, and more.

Creating a routine that works for you is how to write your novel and get that dream achieved!

Want to know how it’s done? Look no further than the Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Writing Routine – right here.

3. Give yourself a deadline

Deadlines are your friend! Once you have your writing routine ready and you are committed to taking imperfect action, set a realistic deadline that will allow you to write your novel. Once it’s set, tell other people about it so that you have some accountability. You’re more likely to strive toward a goal if a deadline is set and you have other people who are aware of it.

4. Set clear boundaries

Everyone has different people vying for their time, whether it’s partners, kids, dogs, friends…the list is endless. It’s up to you to set clear boundaries with others so that you can use your writing time as your own.

Tell other people what your writing routine is. Stick it up on the fridge. Close the door when you need to, and give yourself the chance to achieve your goal.

Once you reach small successes – from hitting that word count in the week or getting half of your novel written, make sure you involve the people in your life in the celebration of this. That way, they are far more likely to respect your time, boundaries and will be excited to be a part of your journey – even though they’re not allowed in the room when you’re actually writing.

5. Use the compound effect

The compound effect is the idea that small steps equal big success. Got ten minutes? Don’t let it get away by using it on procrastination; grab it with a pen and paper and get one hundred words down. Taking advantage of those moments will increase more than your word count; it will get you closer to your goal of writing your novel.

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What Does It Mean to Write What You Know?

‘Write what you know’ is one of those common phrases that gets thrown around Creative Writing classrooms, sometimes without too much explanation on what it actually means.

As a Creative Writing tutor and coach, I’ve always gone into detail with students and clients about what I mean when I say this – and now I’m going to explain it to you!

Some people get confused when they are faced with this phrase, as they think that it limits them to writing about the ‘real world’.

However, this is not the case. One can write about a world filled with dragons and monsters, and still be writing what they know. I’m not saying that one actually thinks they are in a dragon-filled land (although really, who am I to comment), but rather that writing what you know is not to be taken in such a literal way.

So what does it mean then?

It means that you should draw on your experiences to add value, realism and emotion to your writing. When Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings he was not drawing on his experience of traversing mountainous lands with an elf beside him. He was drawing on his experience of:

  • Friendship and relationships
  • Storytelling
  • Geography
  • People
  • History
  • Religion

It was this knowledge that helped Tolkien write such an epic fantasy series.

Writing what you know, coupled with imagination, can equal a wondrous creation.

For example, you may be writing about a soldier leaving his family and joining the Second World War.
Now, chances are that you weren’t actually around during the Second World War, so how can you write what you know when it comes to this? Well, you may have experienced true heartbreak. You may have missed somebody dreadfully. You may know what it is like to do without or to focus on a smaller picture just so you can get through the day.

These are all elements of knowledge and experience that could add real depth to a character’s journey and story.

Writing what you know doesn’t mean that you can only write about a thirty year old who lives in the UK. It means that you should draw from all of your life experience, all of the emotion that has ever driven you, and pour it into your fictional work to create believable tales of depth and beauty.