Top Three Tips
- Keep on writing through until end of first draft without worrying about getting it absolutely right - you can always go back once you've got the whole story down.
- Keep a notebook to hand - you never know when an idea may come to you or you will spot something you want to remember.
- Enjoy writing for its own sake as publication is a hit and miss affair.
More advice if you need it...
- Experiment with using non-fiction to enrich your stories. I find more inspiration in reading fact than I do other novels, particularly history.
- Read widely - you never know where the next inspirational idea might come from.
- Be original. Most would-be writers go through a stage of imitation but the trick is to break free and dream up your own kind of stories using your own voice.
- Try your work out on an audience, reading aloud. It helps hone your prose style as you'll soon hear the bits that don't quite work.
- Cut ruthlessly - if you doubt a section, it probably needs to go.
- Enter competitions for young writers. You'll get read by professionals and, of course, you may win. This is a more realistic goal than going straight to sending to publishers. Very few manuscripts get picked off the so-called 'slush pile' of books sent in by newcomers. Don't let me put you off, but I wouldn't want to set you up for disappointment.
- And did I say, enjoy the writing? That's what really matters.