Welcome to the first in a new series on my blog called Writing Tip Wednesday. Each week an author or member of the book community will share tips that you can use to be a more effective writer.
Today we have author Simon Farrant sharing his tips.
So you want to write a story? Great!
It’s my genuine belief that many people can, especially if they are keen readers.
But they are afraid?
Afraid of what? Failure to reach the end? The manuscript not being good enough?
Some years ago, I was at a low ebb. My job was gone because of my new disability, with all the issues that come with it.
Depression was really kicking my arse.
Someone said to me, from a support group, ‘How do you eat an elephant?’
I had no idea…
‘One bite at a time, Simon.’
Let that sink in.
No one expects that you will know much about writing nor the processes involved. But there are many many people who can and will help you.
First, help yourself.
Make it a habit.
A blank sheet is boring to read. But, what if… you laid down a few hundred or maybe a couple of thousand of words a day. Make time each day to write a little. Even if it’s a stolen twenty minutes… That’s two hours at least a week.
Soon it will be a normal part of your day.
Sitting at home writing may seem solitary. But it need not be so. There are many Facebook groups out there with like-minded people.
Be discerning, Brenda from Barnsley has never written a book but she is telling anyone who is listening about something she is an expert on. Don’t let that frighten you off though; there are wonderful groups like Book Connectors which are jam-packed with knowledgeable and helpful people.
Experiment a little, there is no one right way to write a book. You may find that you can’t plot for toffee, or that if you don’t plot it all goes to pot.
For me, a compromise works well. I loosely plot, to give me the path and then start writing.
The WIP (Work in Progress) I am working on, I made a 14 chapter outline. I’m on chapter 12, but my naughty characters have done their own thing. Bad kids. This chapter now has about 5 chapters within it, and chapters 13 and 14 are not necessary because the road has taken a turn. That’s ok. Be flexible and enjoy the adventure.
After writing the first draft, I can shake it up move things around and make it as good as I can before sending it to God. I mean the Editor.
Another tip now; find a great editor. Not just one that ticks the qualification box, but one that you also strike a chord with. They are going to work hard on your manuscript, but if your personalities clash then it’ll make working together onerous. You’ll need a fairly thick skin but always remember that they are helping you to make your work to be the best that it can be, NOT criticising for the sake of it.
If you book one, after a sample edit, and the works great but there’s something not quite right with the working partnership then move on.
The above tip also applies to your cover designer. Remember what I said about making contacts? One unexpected bonus of writing is that I have made new friends.
Oh, always always always get your writing edited and a pro cover (it doesn’t need to be expensive, look up ‘pre-made’ or see if your designer will offer a payment plan) or you’ve handicapped yourself before you start.
My final tip – invest in some tech.
Pro Writing Aid – look it up, it’s awesome.
Simon was born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. He is proud of his Yorkshire roots. This can be seen by how much Yorkshire Tea he drinks!
He has lived in various places, and went to the University of Derby and gained a HND and a BA (Hons). Since then, he has lived and worked in a few more places before finding the love of his life.
He moved in with his wife, got married and had three kids. Our home is shared with Missy the cat and Skeddie the Pink Tongued Skink. They have lived in Corby since 2005 and love living there.
What an adventure; it started fifteen years ago when we met.
Since then, Simon is proud to have served as a Special Constable in Northamptonshire. He wanted to join up to be a full-time police officer, but life had another plan. At the time, he was working for a major national supermarket as a HGV (large truck) driver, which he did for over a decade. He became ill in 2011, but the illness never went away. Now he is disabled with various chronic illnesses, which resulted in him losing his day job about four years ago. Fibromyalgia and Psoriatic Arthritis are the main culprits.
He wondered where life would take him next.
Mark Nye, a superb writer and a friend, asked for submissions for an anthology. Simon wrote a short story called Famously Ordinary. To his delight, Mark told him that it was a good story. By then, he had caught the writing bug!
The anthology was never actually published, so Simon made it into a novella. A further book, The Crucifix, was written and the series Newdon Killers was born.