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Writing Tips from my favourite authors

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredibly talented authors at literature festivals and I always ask them their favourite piece of writing advice. Below are some of the tips that have helped me the most.

Santa Montefiore

‘My husband always told me, “get it written and then get it right.” It sounds very simple and you might not get the importance of it but you’ve just got to sit down and get it written. It’s like carving out a cave - carving is the hard part, smoothing it out and polishing it, that’s the fun part, but you’ve got to do the hard work and get it written first.’

Mark Billingham

‘There’s so much more to a book than whodunnit – it’s about WHYdunnit.’

Adele O’Neill

‘Know your characters. They need their own set of complexities, their own opinions, and their own back-stories, then drip-feed readers just enough information to whet their appetite and kick start their imaginations.’

Alwyn Hamilton

‘Reframe the phrase, be creative, because if you say to anyone, “think of the most original idea that no one has ever thought of,” all they will be able to think about is other people’s ideas. Reframe the phrase to thinking of an idea that is unique to you - that is an idea about who you are as a person, your life experiences, what you’re interested in, what you’re afraid of, what you’re passionate about - and integrating that into a book. That is still being creative but you don’t think of it that way because all those things seem so natural to you.’

Peter James

‘Continually ask yourself: does it drive the narrative forward? Apply this to every sentence you write to make sure that the story is well-paced – a critical consideration in the competitive arena of thriller writing.”

Esi Edugyan

‘Try and keep regular writing hours – try to commit to sitting down around the same time each day. Waiting to be inspired is not going to get your book done.’

What's your favourite writing tip?


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I'm Karen, a best-selling novelist who left her corporate life to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Since then, I've written everything from travel articles to web copy before winning a novel writing competition which led to a 3-book deal. 


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