Aimee Horton

#WriteThinking Rebecca Pugh

Jan
25

Rebecca L 3This week I am so excited that the GORGEOUS Rebecca Pugh has written her top five writing tips for #WriteThinking. Not only is Rebecca a super talented writer (I mean, seriously, check her books out), but she is a total bookworm and can be found reviewing books left right and centre over at her blog – Becca’s Books.

 


 

Five Tips from Becca

    1. DO NOT – I repeat – DO NOT COMPARE your writing journey to anyone else’s. It was actually my partner who taught me this lovely little slice, and just when I needed it too. He said to me, “Becca, your journey is completely different to anyone else’s, and theirs to yours, too.” It’s hard not to compare sometimes. Perhaps it’s just me, perhaps it isn’t. But if you ever find yourself watching other authors/writers, marvelling at how they steam ahead or seem to whack out word counts at lightning speed, don’t think that should be what you’re doing too. Everyone is different, and you’ll see this proven through the way people plan, plot, set goals… You are your own writer, and as you progress, you’ll realise that you’ll begin to become confident in how you do things. It’s an exciting path to tread, but very rarely is it the same path as someone else. Focus on you.
    2. Be confident in what you do and how you do it. This is one that I’m definitely still trying to get to grips with, but I think I’m slowly getting there. Don’t shy away from what you’re about. If you write gripping thrillers, stand tall about it. If you write whimsical romance (like me), be proud! If you write space dramas set on Mars with aliens and aircrafts, good on you! It’s true that not everyone will enjoy your novel, but for those who will, make sure they know you’re there. Be proud, be sure, and be happy with it too. Don’t ever lose your love for what you write, that’s where the passion comes from.
    3. Fall in love with your characters. Get to know them inside out. Find out their likes and dislikes. Ask them questions and imagine how they’d answer in your mind. Then go even further – imagine their voice! If they took a trip to a theme park, which ride would they race to first? Why? Imagine them in all manner of scenarios and nail down those characteristics that you want to shine from them. These are just ideas of course, but once you and your characters are best friends, time spent with them will be an absolute treat! How do they smile? How do they laugh? What word would come shooting out of their mouth if they stubbed their toe on the bedside table? Not only is it completely beneficial for your story, but it’s fun too!
    4. Listen to music. This is an odd one, and I know not everyone will agree that this helps when writing, perhaps preferring silence, but whenever I’m at a particularly emotional or sexy scene, music is the best thing there is to help set the mood in your mind. I love doing this, closing my eyes for a few moments, imagining the different ways in which things could happen for my characters. I stick my headphones in and shut out the world, and step into my fictional one for a while instead.
    5. Remember, the reader doesn’t know what you know. I have moments of doubt, we all do, and this is one that I always love to remember. When I’m reading back through my work, and perhaps worrying that it’s not good enough, I have to remind myself that this is the 573573th time I’ve read it. For the reader, it’s the first. You know every twist, turn and surprise that’s about to come because you wrote it. The reader doesn’t. For them, they’re stepping into a completely new story with no idea where you’ll take them. This always boosts me up a bit, gets me excited about the fact that I’m in control of this story. I love that feeling!

 

Rebecca’s latest book – A Home In Sunset Bay, is out on 9th Feb 2016 and you can pre-order it by clicking here.

You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

#WriteThinking – Amanda Jennings

Jan
18
amandajenningsprofilepic

Amanda Jennings.

This week I am BEYOND excited that Amanda Jennings has written a guest post. I found (stalked) Amanda on Twitter in 2012 before her first book Sworn Secret was released in August that year. She is what I see as a proper grown up author, who I would like to be one day when I grow up. Not only are her books AMAZING (if you haven’t read them, GO AND DO IT NOW), but she’s funny, honest, and just down right lovely. Today her post is just absolute genius.


 

Write the draft. Write The End.

Writing is a tricky business. It requires determination, a thick skin, and the ability to block your ears to the nagging sound of the Beast of Self-Doubt who loiters, ever-present, on your shoulder. You write words you think are ok, and then when you read them through the next day, you realise every single one is horrific. How did you write them? What were you thinking? Who in their right minds is going to want to read them? Let alone pay for them? And then, in a cold sweat, your hand hovers over the delete button. Or you spend three hours polishing a single sentence, moving commas, adding a word, deleting the word, reinstating the word…

So many writers don’t ever complete a first draft. But if you want to be a published writer you need to write The End. It’s the one piece of advice I’d give any writer starting out. Get the first draft written. Before you start tinkering and panicking, deleting and tearing your hair out, get to The End. You could spend hours, days, weeks or months or even years, rewriting the first few chapters of your book. Searching for perfection. It’s the kiss of death. A first draft will never be perfect. A few writers might be able to produce a perfect first draft, but not many. And anyway, a first draft isn’t supposed to be perfect because nobody but you needs to see it. Your novel will take shape during the rewrites. Writing a book is like sculpture. Before you can create anything beautiful you need to start with a lump of clay. The first draft is your clay. Yours to shape and refine. As you edit, your story will change. Some characters will grow in importance. Others will lose significance. New characters, plot twists, and ideas will emerge. This is part of the process. It’s the good bit.

But it’s not that easy, is it? There are so many windows that need to be stared out of. So many unimportant chores that suddenly become vital. So often my days can be swamped by procrastination, by making endless cups of tea, Googling the weather forecast, sorting out my odd socks, checking Twitter, checking Facebook, looking at pictures of otters holding paws while sleeping (this is one of my biggest time-sucks. They actually hold paws!) listening to Space Oddity and sobbing a bit… To keep myself on track on days like this, I reread the quote I have pinned to the wall above my computer. It reads: When asked the secret to finishing his 500 page masterpiece, The Power of One, author Bryce Courtney growled, ‘Bum Glue’.

I love it.

I love the ‘growl’. Writing can be a battle, drawing out sentences, bending them into shape, searching for the ideal turn of phrase, avoiding clichés, killing unnecessary words. And though I’m not proud of this, most of the time, when someone tries to speak to me while I’m writing, I growl in reply.

“Mummy, where’s my history book?” In your room, I growl.

“Would you like me to lay the table for supper?” Yes, I growl. Of course I would.

The phone rings. “For crying out loud, what do you want?” I growl.

You get the picture.

I also love the ‘bum glue’. I love the imagery, the idea of not being able to get to the kitchen to put the kettle on for the fifth time in an hour because I’m literally stuck to my chair with bum glue. We all need bum glue. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve just begun writing your first ever book or if you’re the seasoned author of ten, if you want to finish a novel, you need to sit down, stay seated, and apply fingers to keyboard or pen to paper.

So write the draft. Write The End. Don’t worry about dreadful prose, about the boring bits, about the descriptions that don’t quite work. All of it can be fixed. You need your lump of clay. Write, forge onwards, get those words down. And when you’re finding it hard?

Well, just apply the bum glue…

Amanda’s latest book In Her Wake is available for pre-order HERE.

You can also catch up with Amanda on her website, her Facebook page, and Twitter.

#WriteThinking Kerry Barrett

Jan
11

kerrybarrettThis weeks post is by the amazing Kerry Barrett. I’ve known Kerry for a few years now, and her ideas and drive keep me constantly in awe. She wrote three books last year, THREE. She has an imagination I could only dream of, and so it’s pretty apt that her post today is about where she gets her ideas from.


 

Some ideas about ideas.

Like all the best ideas, I find the first seeds of a novel often come to me when I’m thinking of something else. In the shower, on the train to work, when I’m at work (and when I should be working!), when I’m cooking dinner or often when I’m running or swimming. In fact, the only time they definitely don’t come to me is when I sit in front of my laptop ready to come up with an idea!

People ask me a lot where I get my ideas from and always give the same answer: I get them everywhere. And that’s one of my favourite writing tips – ideas come from everywhere, you just have to listen to them (and listen to other people’s conversations – loads of my ideas come from earwigging) and keep a note of them.
Crime novelist Ian Rankin snips interesting stories out of newspapers, jots down sentences on post-it notes and scribbles ideas on pieces of paper, shoves them into a folder and gets them all out when it’s time to plan his next book. I love this idea and I try to do a similar thing. I normally make notes to myself on my phone, though that sometimes backfires when I find myself trying to make sense of a few seemingly unconnected words that I was convinced I’d understand later.

I think the best ideas often come from a throwaway remark, a story I hear, a snippet of a conversation, a song I hear, or something I see when I’m out and about at work or on the school run. Sometimes it’s a simple as wishing something – I wish I could be on Strictly. I wish I could waggle my fingers and make a cup of tea appear. I wish I could give up my job and live in a house by the sea. I hope if I can’t stop thinking about something, then it’ll grab readers in the same way.

My last book, A Step In Time, had a historical story within it, and my next two books are going to be the same so now I have an added dimension of thinking about a time period I’m particularly interested in and finding a story within it – which is a lot of fun. One of my future novels is set in Soho in the late 60s and was inspired by the Save Soho campaign that’s currently running. I’d seen lots of pictures of 1960s Soho on the campaign’s twitter feed and I was thinking about how brilliant it must have been to work in Soho then – and suddenly I had another plot.

So basically, when it comes to inspiration, I’d say the most important thing is to be nosy! Be interested in people’s lives, people’s stories, people’s history. Listen to conversations, watch the news – and watch the people in the background as well, read books, talk to everyone (well maybe not everyone, but you know what I mean!). Open your eyes, your ears, and your imagination and the ideas will follow.

Kerry’s latest book, A Step In Time is available on Amazon just click here.

You can also contact Kerry via her website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and pinterest.