How I write

2 Mar 2020

Building the novel

 

I used to be afraid that I couldn’t ever write a novel because I could never think of a plot. What I didn’t realise was that authors don’t necessarily have to know the plot from the outset. I’m currently about 30,000 words into my fifth novel and while I’ve got the main characters and the locations, I still don’t really know what will happen. Instead of writing chronologically, I expand it all from the inside, going into scenes that I find interesting, and developing them – following the little shoots until they grow and blossom (or wither and die, at which point, I get out the shears). This process is both liberating and dreadful. It involves shutting down the critical voice, and trying to ignore the constant self-doubt. All being well, eventually I’ll have a first draft – an actual plot! – and then real work will begin: the editing, revising, rewriting, cutting and tightening that will make the CFD (crap first draft) into a novel.

Psychologies Magazine How to Write a Novel column

23 Feb 2017

Here’s my first column for Psychologies magazine. I’ll be writing one a month for a year.

Tips and discussions of techniques, overcoming blocks, facing fears and all that…. Have a read of column 1 here. 

proofs TNV

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