Top 5 writing tips by Eva Woods
1. Keep going, keep going, keep going
The days when I sit down and the words flow out like water are maybe once a month, if I’m lucky. All the rest of the time is spent plodding along, trying things, seeing what happens. I aim to write a thousand words a day, without editing, checking, or worrying if it’s any good. I’m always amazed at how a book grows using this method, even when most days it feels like you’ve just typed a random assortment of words that don’t make any sense. If you keep the momentum up, your sub-conscious develops the story without you noticing.
2. Everything can be fixed in an edit
There’s always another draft you can do, so if you get stuck on something just leave it for now and keep moving forward. When you’ve done what you can, get someone else’s feedback and then start editing again. My terrible first drafts are usually unrecognisable from the final book on the shelves. Just make sure you don’t lose momentum and get stuck re-writing your first chapter twenty-seven times.
3. Story is everything
Being a good prose writer is important, as is learning to use words skilfully, like tools. But if you don’t have a compelling story as well the book won’t get anywhere. Make sure you show us change and growth, interesting characters going through interesting experiences. If necessary, give your characters a really horrible time of it. Now is not the time to be nice.
4. Dramatise, don’t summarise
In a novel it can be tempting to sum things up a lot – telling us what characters are like or explaining what happened instead of showing us, or including lots of backstory. It’s much easier to write actual scenes that are taking place on the page right now – think of it as a film if that helps. And action and dialogue are also much easier to read than long chunks of exposition.
5. Believe in yourself
Most writers start out a bit clueless, knowing nobody in the industry, and sitting alone in a room with only a dream and a pen. There’s no reason this can’t be you too, and the great news is the industry is set up to provide a path in for new writers. Your agent will help you enormously as well. Good luck!
Huge thanks to Eva & Cara at HQ Stories. Click here to get hold of your copy of The Ex Factor.