Author: Emma Hannigan
Genre: Adult Fiction - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Release Date: March 27th, 2014
Published by: Headline
I received this from Headline in exchange for an honest review. As always, my reviews are fair and non-bias.
Chick-Lit fans everywhere! Anyone who loves Women's Fiction will adore this magical summer story.
Oh dear Lord I always cringe when faced with the idea that I should instruct anyone else on how to write a book! You see, I still think I’m a bit of a fraud. I never had any sort of formal training when it comes to penning my books. Writing became my profession quite by chance. At first it was purely my therapy. My way of releasing my hopes dreams fears and anxieties while battling cancer. Swiftly I realised it was exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. So how did I begin? I literally sat one day and began to type. So I guess my first tip has to be just that!
1. Sit and go for it.
Nobody else can write your book. Thinking about writing doesn’t raise the word count. So find a quiet and comfortable spot and get writing.
2. Make some planning notes.
I don’t mean twelve foolscap pages of intricate details. Just an idea of what you’d like the story to be about. Going back to school English lessons – have a beginning, middle and end. It doesn’t need to be set in stone as the story will always evolve as you go along, but it’s vital to have clear ideas and will ensure the pace is kept going swiftly as you advance through your story.
3. Characters should be realistic.
Unless you’re writing about a schizophrenic reclusive psychopath with a twitch who has no grasp on reality, readers need to be able to identify with the characters. Often the ones my readers love most are those that remind them of people they know.
4. Don’t be afraid to let go of your own emotions.
By this I mean that it’s fine to laugh like a hyena even if you’re in a room on your own accompanied only by your words. It’s OK to sob like a toddler being left at crèche for the first time too. Odds are, if you find the story hilarious or desperately sad, so too will your readers.
5. If it’s boring cut it out.
You are the first gauge on your own work. So if you feel the story or character is boring and you don’t particularly care what happens to them, you can bet nobody else will either. Less is more.
6. Read over what you’ve written.
The first draft of a book involves getting all the ideas out of your head. But once you look at it again (perhaps after a few days break so you’re seeing it with a fresh eye) any adjustments can be made. I don’t know a single author who has completed a perfect novel on the first draft!
7. Enjoy it!
That may sound crazy, but writing is a craft and it won’t work unless you are relaxed and enjoying the process. Magic won’t be made if the author is having to squeeze each sentence onto the page as if it were a chore.
8. Be yourself.
As the late great Oscar Wilde famously said: “be yourself, everybody else is already taken.” Finding your own unique voice (and we’re all born with one) is key to knowing who you are as a writer.
9. Read, read, read.
In my mind, it would be impossible to become a good author without reading other people’s work. In my mind it would be akin to having all the ingredients to bake a cake without the method. Good writing involves learning and what better way than absorbing other authors knowledge?
10. Don’t give up!
Writing can be difficult as it’s pretty much a solitary occupation. But believing in what you’re doing is a must. If you don’t have dreams how can they ever come true?
For me, writing is a gift. I am so privileged to have my work published and I will never take that for granted. With each book I learn so much more than before. I am slowly developing my craft and coming to know who I am as a writer. I embrace the ideas and guidance of my editors and publishing team. I endeavour to make each book better than the last.
I hope many more people go down the writing road. I for one would heartily recommend it and already I’m looking forward to reading all your books!
Emma Hannigan is the author of six bestselling novels including Keeping Mum and a bestselling memoir Talk to the Headscarf which charted her journey through cancer. Emma lives in Bray, Ireland, with her husband and two children.
For more about Emma, visit her website www.emmahannigan.com or follow her on Twitter @MsEmmaHannigan.
The Summer Guest is published by Headline in paperback on July 31st, priced £7.99