Thursday, 20 July 2017

Ask No Questions Blog Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the Ask No Questions blog tour! Today I have a brilliant guest post from Lisa Hartley sharing her top writing tips for all of you budding authors out there.

Lisa Hartley's Top 5 Writing Tips 

1) Sit down and write.
Sounds obvious, but for a long time, I dreamed about being about being a writer without actually doing much writing. This turned out to be not the best way to achieve that dream. You might have the perfect plot, the most amazing characters, but if they’re in your head and not on the page, you’ve no way of sharing them. Sit down and write regularly, whether you manage five minutes or 50,000 words. I’m currently working on the second book in my new series. For me, this means writing at least 600 words a day. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s achievable even on the days I have other commitments. I usually manage a lot more, but even if I don’t, I’m always making progress towards a completed first draft.

2) Read. 
Other people’s words are inspiring. Read in the genre you’re planning to write in, but also more widely. Never plagiarise, but allow the ideas and themes you read about to encourage your own ideas.

3) Ask a trusted friend or a professional to give their honest opinion of your work.
I had always enjoyed writing, but realised that didn’t mean I had any talent for it. Once I’d (eventually!) finished my first full length novel, On Laughton Moor, I had no idea if it was any good. I couldn’t ask my partner or my mum for their honest opinion, because they would feel pressured to be polite and encouraging, as would friends and other relatives. What I needed was the opinion of someone who knew the publishing industry, a person who really knew what they were talking about. If I was ever going to make writing my career, I would have to get used to receiving feedback on what worked and what I needed to change. It’s a daunting thought, terrifying even. The project you’ve spent so long working on, your “baby”, being read by someone who will pull no punches when giving their opinion. But you need to learn to accept constructive criticism if you’re ever going to improve. This might mean approaching an agent or publishers, or there are also companies which offer critiques of manuscripts and other services. If you choose that route, research them as much as you can, ask around, and choose wisely.

4) Accept that not everyone will like your work. 
This perhaps follows on from the above, but the fact is some people will not enjoy your novel. This doesn’t make it a bad book, and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a writer who should sell their computer and go and find something more worthwhile to do.

It just means this particular person didn’t like your book.

For me, this was a huge thing to accept. A negative review can feel like personal attack. The trick is to read, shrug, and get on with your life. If someone offers advice you feel you can use, then brilliant, do so. As I said above, constructive criticism is vital, but someone just saying your book is “rubbish” (or whatever) isn’t going to help you improve. This person didn’t like your book, and that’s fine. Time to move on.

I’m the worst person in the world at doing this, though. When I received my first negative review, it upset me for ages. Eventually I learnt to accept it and move on. Easier said than done, I know, but necessary to save yourself some heartache.

5) Make your own way. 
Read reviews, blogs, and interviews with writers you admire. Go to book festivals, chat on Twitter with writers and readers. In the end though, keep writing whatever it is you want to write. Listen to advice, maybe follow the “rules” of your genre to the point where you realise you’re going to have to break some to tell your story. And keep reading.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

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