Writing Tips for my Younger Self
By Rachel Abbott
I’m not entirely sure that I would like to give my younger self many tips, to be honest. I think when I was younger I probably wouldn’t have taken much notice – but now that I’m older, and hopefully wiser, I would take any tips I can get! But this is what I would try to tell myself.
Don’t keep putting it off – write as soon as you can
I would say this, but I’m not entirely sure that it would have worked for me. I was 59 when I published my first book, and for those who have read any of them you will know that relationships are an important facet of each story – even though they are thrillers. I’m not sure that I would have had the same amount of insight into human behaviour when I was younger. But I do wish I hadn’t kept putting it off.
Learn your craft
I did a lot of writing in my career – not novels, but nevertheless quite a lot of creative projects required scripting, or concept documents. So I wasn’t new to writing in that respect. But there was so much I didn’t know. I had never heard of ‘show, don’t tell,’ and if I had, I wouldn’t have known what it meant. I have been learning as I go from some fantastic editors who point out the error of my ways. But well worth learning what you can before you start.
Have realistic expectations
I believe I was quite lucky in the timing of the release of my first book. Independent publishing was relatively new on Amazon, and so although there was a lot of very stiff competition, in many ways it was easier four years ago than I think it is now. Apparently only 11.5% of authors make enough money to live on, the rest having to find other means of support, so don’t start writing purely because you want to make money. Do it because you love it.
Be prepared for a lot of hard work
Having your book published – whether independently or traditionally – is no longer just about the writing. Even the most successful authors still have to make appearances at various venues around the country – or even the world. But for most, a considerable amount of time has to be spent on marketing. If people don’t know your book is out there, they can’t buy it. So you have to be prepared to put in long hours, often doing boring, repetitive stuff just to get your book noticed.
Leave your ego at the door
The first time I had a professional editor look at my book I was outraged at some of the feedback. ‘But that’s one of my best lines!’ I would scream with horror. ‘Yes, and it’s clever, but not in any way relevant,’ they would respond. When you think you have written a masterpiece and it comes back with more comments than can fit in the sidebar of Microsoft Word, and you realise there’s a lot of work still to be done, it can be soul destroying. Or, on the other hand, it can be very uplifting. If you don’t get bogged down in being argumentative and just get on with it, you will see that with their skilful reading and your writing ability you can transform the book into something much better than it originally was.
A huge thank you to Rachel Abbott and to Katie Brown. ♥
When your life is a lie, who can you trust?
When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced.
But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone, or why. And then she discovers she’s not the only one looking for him.
When a woman who looks just like Maggie is brutally murdered and DCI Tom Douglas is brought in to investigate, Maggie realises how little she knows about Duncan’s past. Is he the man she loves? Who is he running from?
She doesn’t have long to decide whether to trust him or betray him. Because one thing has been made clear to Maggie – another woman will die soon, and it might be her.
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Such excellent advice. I would echo all of it. My oldest son is a freshman studying creative writing. He has big dreams, and although I’ve said some of these exact words to him, they bounce right off. He’ll get it, and hopefully sooner than I did, but you’re right – time and experience will be his best teachers. Congrats on the book! Looks fantastic.