Wednesday 17 June 2015

Guest Post: Rosanna Ley's Tips for Aspiring Writers.

Rosanna Ley’s Tips for Aspiring Writers

Anybody who wants to write should read. A lot. And that’s not just the classics – though yes, these can be wonderful and inspiring. But they were written a long time ago, remember, and what we need to know about as aspiring writers is what is being published NOW. (There’s a big difference as you will see if you analyse different types of books from different times). So read and absorb and them...

You might want to think about how they do it. That is, get into the habit of reading a book that you are enjoying (i.e. a good book) with an analytical eye. What is the author writing about? What is the concept? How is this introduced? What made you pick up the book in the first place? (After all, you are the market, in a manner of speaking). How does the author get the reader to keep turning the pages (narrative tension!)? How much description is included and how does this add to the reading experience? How important is the setting? Why has this time frame been chosen? How does the author get you involved with the characters? How does she/he use viewpoint and tense and style? What plot devices does she/ he use? How has the author structured the book? What about the beginning – and the ending?

Phew. That’s a lot of analysis and you might want to join up with a creative writing group of some sort at this stage in order to learn more. In a good writing workshop you can share your work and find out how it could be improved and you can practice your analytic editorial skills on the work of others! (Because remember that writers have to be authors and editors at almost the same time...) Be brave! Reading out your own work is not easy, but it does get better and you can get invaluable feedback and support from a good writing group.

Write not what you know but what you want to explore. Do lots of research into your subject so that you can do it justice. But remember not to include it all! Research should feel unobtrusive. Enjoy your research. Get involved. But don’t forget to stop at some point and start writing.

Never forget that readers are intelligent. They do not have to have everything explained to them. If you do that, it will be irritating.

Never give up. Many published writers have many unpublished mss hidden under the bed and elsewhere. Each novel or story or poem you write is a learning curve. It never stops. What really sorts the men out from the boys in the writing world (a totally inappropriate phrase but never mind) is sometimes pure determination and drive. So do it. Never stop dreaming and never give up.

Have fun. Writing is hard work, yes. But it’s also one of the most creatively fulfilling things we can do.

The Saffron Trail by Rosanna Ley is out now (Quercus, £7.99)


Buy your copy of The Saffron Trail here or add it to your Goodreads TBR.


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