Katy Cannon was born in the United Arab Emirates, grew up in North Wales and now lives in Hertfordshire. Her YA debut, LOVE, LIES AND LEMON PIES, has been published in eight languages. She has since written SECRETS, SCHEMES AND SEWING MACHINES, followed by AND THEN WE RAN. Katy also writes adult romance novels under a pseudonym. Visit www.katycannon.com | @KatyJoCannon
My Top 5 Tips for Aspiring Writers
There’s no right way to write a book. Every writer needs to figure out what helps them to produce their best work. But sometimes you have to try a lot of different approaches before your find one that works for you! With that in mind, here are my top 5 tips for aspiring writers.
- Figure out what matters most. Some writers are plotters, some are pantsers. That’s just a universal truth of writing. But wherever you lie on the plotter/pantser scale, I still recommend you figure out what matters most before you start. Write down what your main character wants, why they want it so badly, and who or what is stopping them. Then write down why you want to write this book in particular. Keep these notes somewhere you’ll see them often. They’ll help bring you back to the story you want to tell, when you start to feel lost.
- Trust your instincts. As you’re writing, ideas will come to you and stuff will show up in your story that you don’t understand. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve thrown something into a scene just because it felt right, only for the reason behind it to show up eight chapters later – and make the story deeper for it. It doesn’t always work, but it comes off often enough to make it worth sticking with. If something feels right when you’re writing, leave it in – for now. Either it’ll add something wonderful to your story, or you can strip it out in revisions.
- Go with your second or third idea. By which I mean, when you’re trying to plot out what happens next in your story, or think of a reason why your character might act the way she just has, don’t just jump on the first idea you land on and run with it. Brainstorm a few possibilities. Your first idea is probably the most obvious one – and you want something a little different for your story, right? So keep going until you get it. (Second or third idea is only a guess. Basically, you want the ideas that come between the obvious and the absurd. It’s up to you where those lines lie.)
- Don’t underestimate how much you can achieve in the time you have. As an aspiring writer, one of the hardest things to do is to find time to write, in amongst all the other demands on you from school, family, friends, jobs, hobbies etc. But if you make a commitment to writing just 250 words a day (half the length of this blog post), you can have an 80,000 word first draft in less than a year. Consistency is what matters when it comes to getting words on the page.
- Just write. Above all else, a writer is someone who writes. Even if you’re not sure where your story is going, or you don’t think your writing is good enough yet – just write. It’s the only way to improve, and the compulsory first step towards writing ‘The End.’
Tilly Frost has grown up reading her grandmother’s bestselling romance novels – so when the one and only Beatrix Frost is taken ill, Tilly finishes writing her latest work. But her grandmother is hiding something from Tilly…Tilly agrees to start the next book for her but how can Tilly write a heart-pounding romance when she’s never been in love? Can she turn her school crush into something more? Tilly soon learns that the course of true love never did run smooth…