Thursday, 11 May 2017

Writing - 5 top writing tips

Every week without fail there are lists published to make us all better! We can choose 5 foods to flatten our stomachs; or 7 exercises for a stronger core; and even 10 ways to build characters in your writing. Well I avoid such lists like the plague as a rule until I came across this one.

Image result for Paula Hawkins
Paula Hawkins

Paula wrote The Girl on the Train which has sold over 20 million copies and is hailed as a literary sensation. I've seen the film and really enjoyed it even though I'm told that the book is better. 
Well Paula has provided the BBC with 5 tips to help us succeed as authors.

1. Be ambitious. For this latest novel, I never considered writing The Girl On The Train 2 – I wanted to do something completely different.

Paula tells Mariella that "you have to write the book you want to write" – something she knows all about, as she started out writing romantic comedies under a pseudonym, without much success. "They kept getting darker and darker, more and more terrible things kept happening and it was just clear that romantic comedy was not my forte. The fourth one did terribly, and my agent was saying, you’ve always wanted to do a thriller, do a thriller. So I did a thriller.’
And the rest, as they say, is literary history.

2. Write the best book you can. Tell the story you want to tell. Jumping on bandwagons never works.

"I don’t think jumping on bandwagons works. By the time you’ve actually finished your book, that bandwagon will be long gone. I don’t think you can artificially go out and say, I am going to write the new Lee Child or the new Dan Brown. That doesn’t work."


3. Avoid distractions: you need to get off Twitter.

"I do sometimes have to step away from social media for a while. I love social media and I love talking about books on Twitter – but sometimes it can take over. I had to force myself to leave social media after the Referendum vote last year because it was too distracting."


4. When feeling disillusioned, re-read the books that make you want to be a better writer.

"Kate Atkinson is one of my favourites; I love Pat Barker, I love people like Cormac McCarthy; I tend to read quite widely... I think you can take inspiration from great writers. I know that a lot of people feel somewhat disillusioned when they read great writing, but actually I think it helps to see what you can aspire to even if you know you might never reach those heights. It reminds you what you love about writing."


5. Luxuriate in the writing. It’s the best part of the job.

"There are times when I love writing. There are times when it flows and goes well and it’s a wonderful thing. What happens when you have a degree of success the way I have – I have to spend all my time talking to journalists, I miss being alone writing at my desk, so I think enjoy the writing while it lasts."

I particularly liked all five points particularly the last two. Why else are we writing? I write because I love reading and also because I enjoy the process of writing.
So this is a change for me to follow a list but this is not a difficult set of rules to follow.

God Bless.