Allie’s Writing Tips

As well as writing my own books, I also help other people with theirs – either as part of the RNA New Writers’ Scheme or through creative writing classes at venues like the Winchers Writers’ Conference. Here are my top five tips for getting going – and sticking with it!

  1. Find somewhere to work that makes you feel calm and relaxed. It might be a proper study, a converted shed or even in your local library; anywhere that is quiet and where you can let your imagination wander. I work sitting on my bed with the laptop balanced on my knee, probably an ergonomic nightmare, but as I do most of my reading in bed too, it seems to make sense to work there as well. (Sort of!)
  2. Think about what you want to write before you sit down and start. This is a real bone of contention between authors – some like to plan everything down to the last semi-colon whilst others prefer to fly by the seat of their pants, but I reckon you are more likely to be typing the words ‘The End’ if you have at least a sense of who your characters are and how you want them to have changed by the end of the novel. Of course you can alter things as the book progresses, but it’ll make those first few chapters much easier to get under your belt.
  3. Write. And then write and write and write and write and write until you get to the end. If you get stuck, keep writing through it – you can always edit what’s there and it’s much less intimidating than looking at a blank page!
  4. Don’t think that your first draft is a finished book. When you send your work off to editors and agents they are going to assume that the pages in front of them represent your best possible work – make sure that it is. Polish, polish, polish. The publishing industry is fiercely competitive and anything you can do to make your work look professional and well-presented will help you secure that elusive deal.
  5. Never give up! When you finish the first book, start on the second; when you finish the second, start on the third. Expect rejections and grab any feedback you can get with both hands – but always keep writing. Your next book might be the next big thing in publishing, but if you don’t write it, you’ll never know. GOOD LUCK!

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