Publishing and Consultancy
It’s November and National Novel Writing Month has begun! Starting today, participants will embark on a month long writing frenzy to produce a 50,000 word original novel. Our Twitter feed is alive with writers offering support, advice and ideas to fellow NaNoWriMo members. This brilliant online movement has been gaining more and more participants since it started in 1999 with a small group of writers in San Francisco. Now they have over a quarter of a million people signed up for a month of writerly activity. Dozens of novels that started out in the cold misty days of November are now published. It’s a great way for budding writers to get some momentum behind their efforts and a fantastic way for writers to share tips.
Here are some of our tips for budding authors:
Make time each day to write: It sounds simple but this golden rule is possibly the hardest one to stick to. When days fill up with busy everyday activities like work and other responsibilities, it can be hard to find time to sit and focus on your writing. We suggest carrying a notebook or a tablet computer if you are lucky enough to have one. Keep those words flowing.
Let it flow: It’s easy to procrastinate over the smallest details but sometimes the best way to write is to simply let the words flow and then go back and tweak them later. One great exercise is to pick a scenario or a character and just write whatever comes into your head for ten minutes. Then see what you have. It might be the start of something great.
Find your own voice: We all have writers who we love and would love to emulate but the best fiction is original fiction. You might love Sebastian Faulks but that doesn’t mean you need to write another “Birdsong”. Imitation, whilst certainly being the most sincere form of flattery, always reads badly as writers tend to use words and terms that don’t come naturally to them. Find your own style and have confidence in it.
Get feedback: Ask friends who are readers to give you honest feedback and mean it. It can be tough dealing with criticism but critical feedback is the most useful. Your mum might think your writing is the best thing since Shakespeare but that won’t help your work to grow and develop to the best it can be. And remember – even Shakespeare had his detractors.
Don’t lose sight of your reader: This is a tough one as your “reader” will always be a mysterious and intangible figure but remember that you are writing to be read. Always ask yourself what might be happening in the mind of your reader, even if that reader is someone you know well. Stephen King in “On Writing” confessed that he writes with his wife in mind. He is constantly asking himself what she would think of the piece he is working on. Keep that reader in mind, whoever they might be. It will help you to focus your work.
Punctuation is not optional: Punctuation gives your writing structure and in many instances meaning. Incorrect punctuation can make a sentence mean something entirely different to what you intended. It is one of the most important tools for writers and something that you must master.
Read: Perhaps the most important thing you can do to improve your writing skills is to read a lot! Read as much as you can. Read as widely as you can.
Good luck to all those writers out there taking the November challenge and to those who might already be working on their opus!
We hope that you will consider sending your manuscript to us here at Red Button!