I wasn’t classically trained in creative writing as such, but I did learn a lot of lessons ‘on the job’ from my brilliant editor, Marian McCarthy, the pick of which I've set out below. Very best, Emma
- The characters have to be believable and relatable with a real sense of depth.
- Every character has to exist for a reason – I had ‘characters galore’ in my first draft and needed to stand back and really assess who was needed to tell the story. If a character overlapped with another, it had to go! Which leads nicely into…
- All writing is re-writing! During my first (and most memorable) re-write, I had to merge the first four chapters and cull several characters – because the pace was too slow and the characters not working hard enough for their place in the story (30,000 words worth!).
- Pacing – keep it moving along swiftly and don’t get bogged down in too much detail, while genuinely making people care about the characters and their futures. Quite a tricky thing to achieve.
- Keep the dialogue distinctive and fresh.
- I always like to end a chapter with an open-ended ‘nugget of information’ or ‘hook’ to make the reader want to keep reading.