Category Archives: Writing Advice

01 Mar 2017

Five Top Tips for Agent Submissions

I’ve just finished a whole month’s worth of preparation for agent submissions for my YA manuscript and I learnt SO much from the process that I really wanted to share some of it! 1. Do thorough research I looked at the website of every single agent on Querytracker who was currently accepting YA submissions (450+ agents from the UK and US)!  It was time-consuming, but essential in order to become more familiar…

31 Jan 2017

Give Up Work, Pursue Your Dream?

At the beginning of January I went back to work – the paid employment type – for the first time in 5½ years!  When I took voluntary redundancy in 2011 it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a year out to pursue my long-held-but-neglected dream of being a writer. That year has stretched a loooong way.  It took me two years to really get going with any writing.  Once…

07 May 2015

Go Fast or Go Far – Teamwork Part 1

I have a confession to make that will probably come back to bite me on the bum in the future:  I have always hated teamwork!  It’s just not my natural and preferred way of working.  I think it partly stems from cringeworthy school projects – I was a highly competent over-achiever (factual statement, not boasting, and not always the case anymore!) and often the other kids I had to work with…

23 Apr 2015

Hooking An Agent – Part 2

Considering how many hours a writer puts into a manuscript, most spend surprisingly few researching the right places to send that precious piece of work to. Of course the internet is bulging with potential agents, but the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is considered the most authoritative place to begin the search (and they also run great courses to help with that, as mentioned last time). However, it’s not enough just to…

01 Apr 2015

Hooking An Agent – Part 1

Agents are the middle-(wo)men between an author and a publisher – an important filter in a day and age when everyone has something to say and thinks they can write a book.  (I appreciate the irony that I am one of that crowd). Although I’m not at the point of submitting to agents yet, I went to a highly informative and enlightening Writers and Artists event last weekend on the Agent Submission…

19 Mar 2015

The Hero’s Journey – Shaping My Story

Discovering "The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers" by Christopher Vogler was one of the highlights of the Writing Drama course I did last year.  Not only has it been one of the most influential books on my writing, but it was probably the most enjoyable and exciting book I read last year full stop!  Based on Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With 1,000 Faces” its concepts are the foundation for untold numbers of films…

04 Mar 2015

The Bountiful Benefits of Book Groups*

Writers are often encouraged to join writing or critique groups, but I’ve never heard any being encouraged to join Book Groups.  So today I’m saying – whether you’re a writer or not, but especially if you are a writer – join a Book Group!!! I love reading, but haven't ever spent as much time doing it as I’d like.  That’s particularly frustrated me recently as my To Be Read pile has…

18 Feb 2015

Don’t Be Bonkers – Backup!

How often should we backup our work?  Obviously businesses tend to take this seriously and have backup systems in place.  But what about those of us who work at home?  Do we have good backup routines?  Do we take the value of our work seriously enough? I’ve never quite sussed my personal backup plan.  After all, it’s *just* my writing, isn’t it?  For awhile I got into a habit of copying…

04 Feb 2015

Competitions – Everyone’s A Winner!

Competitions.  I’ve never been a big fan of them.  Mainly, I think, because hundreds or even thousands of people can enter them, but there’s (usually) only one winner.  So, you have one person who’s feeling on top of the world and another 99+ who feel like losers.  So imagine my surprise to find myself spending most of January preparing my WIP for not one, but two, competitions. If you approach…

22 Jan 2015

The Three Rules For Writing A Novel

So, having thought about and dreamt about being a writer for weeks/months/years, you finally decide to get on and do it.   But once you’ve decided to write, how do you decide what and how to write? "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”  W. Somerset Maugham Much as I love this quote – and its underlying message that writing rules can be vague…