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authors tips
Douglas Jackson
"As a writer you are learning all the time, about the elements that make a good s..." More

Author Tips

Below are a list of tips by authors from Bloomsbury, Random House, Orion, Little Brown, and Hodder & Stoughton. Click the more links for more information!

    Sam Leith
    In order to become an author, you need to write a book. Wanting to have written a book and wanting to write one are two totally different things – and both perfectly respectable desires. If you’re lucky enough to feel both, bully for you. You&... More
    Stephen Kelman
    The process of writing a novel is an intensely personal one that, if it’s going to be in any way rewarding, requires an intensely personal connection to the story you’re trying to write. At least that’s my view. If you can’t empath... More
    Elizabeth Day
     Don’t be put off writing a novel by the thought that the plot has to be mapped out with Byzantine complexity several months in advance and feature a vast cast of characters. I started writing without a clear idea of where I was going and the k... More
    Jane Rusbridge
    A writer looks for ‘the extraordinary magic in the everyday. For me, this statement from Flannery O’Connor is most important. No rules. Instead, revel in the sense that stories are all around us – in the detail, and in the past, present ... More
    David Robinson
    'Give the story wings' ... Tobias Wolff quotes the example of Chekhov's short story "Lady With Pet Dog". Tobias Wolff: "In the first draft Gourov comes out of his club in Moscow and meets a friend standing outside. Out of the blue... More
    Guy Saville
    Perhaps the most important thing you have to bear in mind is what market you are writing for. To maximise your chances of success you need to write a book that can slot into an established genre. That’s not to say you’re just regurgitating exi... More
    Charlotte Betts
    Writing historical fiction is not so very different from contemporary fiction; both need a sizzling plot and strong characters. But there are some aspects to historical fiction which need more thought.* A sense of place. If possible, I visit the setting o... More
    Carolyn Jess Cooke
    Believe in Yourself.  There is a quote by the historian Jacques Barzun that keeps me going when my belief in my writing starts to flag: 'Convince yourself that you are working in clay, not marble, on paper not eternal bronze: Let that first sentence ... More
    Shari Low
    I’ve written ten books now and one thing has been true of all of them – in each novel I created a character that I fell madly in love with. In My Best Friend’s Life it was a male stripper called Jude. I was flushed for much of that exper... More
    Jessica Blair
    Love words and let them take your reader down a road filled with new experiences. Write every day, no matter how little, even though you feel your writing is not as good as you want it to be; ideas will continue to flow and it is easy to revise. Your char... More
    Jacques Strauss
    How to write a compelling opening chapter. My editor said that the opening chapter of my book was, ‘… so awful it made me want to hurl it out the window.’ Not a propitious start for a manuscript on submission. The problem was, I was try... More
    Douglas Jackson
    As a writer you are learning all the time, about the elements that make a good story and how to translate that into a good book and how to do it more efficiently and effectively. When I was writing Hero of Rome, the thing that struck me most was that you ... More
    Oliver Harris
    A successful first chapter can be fast, slow, thoughtful, dramatic, but it will introduce you to a unique world and a distinct voice from which it is inseparable. The voice may belong to a character or to the author themselves, but within a page or two yo... More
    Steve Mosby
    The main advice for all writers – aspiring or established – is to sit down and write. A book takes such a long time to create, and it’s too easy to get bogged down in the early stages, re-writing beginning sections rather than pressing o... More
    R.J. Ellory
    There is no formula for writing a great book. There are no rules. W. Somerset Maugham said there were three, but no-one could agree what they were. A great book is one that you think is great. Write the book that you yourself would like to read, not the b... More
    Katherine Webb
    I think the best advice I can give aspiring authors is to plan your novel carefully, and get your work read. I always used to tear into writing a new book without making a proper plan or synopsis; impatient to get down to the nuts and bolts of writing, an... More
    Veronica Henry
    Don't drive yourself mad analysing what is out there on the shelves already, or trying to spot the next trend, or trying to emulate your favourite author. Write the very book you would love to read, in your own voice. The moment you start to trying to rec... More

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