Writing Tips for Future Kirsty

  1. Try and write a decent outline before starting your first draft. Also know a little about your characters. Give yourself room to move, but make sure you have a framework and basic ideas about major plot points before starting. Also map out all your scenes to make sure you have enough going on to keep the reader interested.
  2. But then don’t feel like you have to write a perfect first draft. You will probably change everything a million times before you’re properly finished anyway.
  3. Don’t freak out about not being able to ‘keep everything in your head’ by the time you get past 25,000 words. Trust that you will be able to fix everything up in the several dozen other drafts and revisions that you always do.
  4. It’s OK to get distracted by a new story idea, but don’t abandon the other one altogether. All ideas need time to grow and evolve, so write down what you need to straight away, then leave it for a while. You might fall in lust with your new story concept, but that will quickly wear off and you might find you don’t even like it as much as the one you’re currently working on.
  5. Remember that you will feel differently about your book on different days. Sometimes it will be the best thing you’ve ever written, and others you will just want to trash the whole thing and pretend it never existed. Give it a couple of days and read a few other books in your genre. You will then probably be re-inspired because a) the other books give you great ideas on how to improve your own book, or b) the other books will be so bad that you will have renewed faith in what you’ve already written.
  6. Don’t rush finishing the book because you’re excited about querying agents / self-publishing or want people to read it. Make it as good as possible first and take your time!
  7. Go back and check the major plot points to make sure they are as strong as they can possibly be. Try to be impartial and think about whether they ‘feel right’ and if there’s a better way for the events to unfold, or a way you can add to them to give the reader greater impact.
  8. Don’t start editing until you have fully completed the first draft and have filled in all the gaps – otherwise you will have an almost perfect first half and then get frustrated when you get to the second half and have to re-write most of it.
  9. Give yourself a week off between drafts so you can see everything more clearly when you come back to editing and revising.
  10. Don’t get all crazy when you’ve finally finished the book and have to start planning your publishing strategy. Be methodical and don’t say to yourself ‘F**k it, let’s just put it out there and see what happens.’ You know what happens from last time and it disadvantaged you.
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