Firstly, let me set the scene. I like to settle in front of my laptop with a large mug of coffee and a pot of fresh or dried mango pieces, or a bowl of jelly beans. Both if it’s going to be a long, heavy session.
I’m happy to work in silence, but equally happy with a re-run of an American crime series (ones I know or else I’ll end up watching them) on in the background, or my IPod on, listening to anything from classical music to the Foo Fighters (my current favourites).
Over the years, I’ve grown to love editing, which is a relief as the first time I worked with James, my editor at the publisher, I was so nervous and stressed, and unable to enter into too much dialogue, even though he’s a wonderfully warm person. I’ve become less precious about keeping phrases that may make my writing shine, but add nothing to the pace or storyline. I’ve become ruthless, and it feels good.
- Leave a manuscript for over a month, or more if possible, once completed, as this allows you to read the story without hopefully remembering the intricacies too much. Because I usually have two projects on the go, I often find myself forgetting what happens, helping me see the story as a reader. Does what you’re reading make sense and urge you to keep reading? If not, or you’re bored, correct it or cut it out.
- We can all be clever with flowery prose, but if one word would suffice, then use it. We don’t need to continually demonstrate to the reader we know how to write in such a manner. There is always an opportunity to ‘go overboard’ through a character’s speech, if warranted; flamboyant characters may suit this style of speech very well.
- Keep a notepad and pen next to you to jot down pieces of information that puzzle you, along with the page number, so you can refer back to it further down the line, if needs be. I find this especially important in crime writing, where the timeline of clues needs to be clear and ordered. Yes, I’m sure there are computer programmes and apps for this, but I’m old-fashioned.
These are just my first few tips, I thought I’d write smaller posts so they’re less overwhelming, as I know I’m too verbose! I’ll do more of these posts in the future. If, in the meantime, you have any tips you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment, or drop me a line.
Happy Word Flow One & All