Monday, 22 October 2018

6 of the Most Important Things I've learnt in 30 years of getting published

He has it all figured out - it took me years.

Thirty years ago my first piece was published in Jackie magazine about superstitions. I've learnt so many lessons along the way.

Some of them took me too long to learn and have cost me.  

There's a lot to recommend old fashioned pen and paper


1. Never edit on screen. 
You miss too much and sometimes your mind sees what it wants to see and not what's really there.

There's nothing more time consuming than forgetting what you put in each chapter and spending hours searching through your work to check something was or wasn't included.


Print out your work and edit with pencil or in red pen and then edit onscreen. I don't know why, maybe it’s the rhyme of pen or pencil on paper that concentrates the brain.

2. If you don't read books you can't write books
Reading opens your eyes not just to how others write, but to the mistakes they make.

3. Read as widely as you can. 
I write crime and devour books in that genre, but I love reading horror and anything supernatural too. At one stage, I read every Western I could get my hands on.

Read books you love. Read books you hate. That way you can see what works and what doesn't.

4. Do chapter summaries or outlines so you know what you've written in every single chapter with a quick glance. 

Trust me, I've learnt this the hard way.

Keeping track also helps with continuity. You don't want people to shriek, "How can she have a fight with her brother when he died of a drug overdose and it was mentioned in chapter five!"

5. Save copies of your work every single day. Use a free online storage company like Dropbox.

Does your Internet provider give you access to online storage free? If so, use it. 

Back up not just every single day you do any work, but any time you make substantial or important changes. As well as online storage companies, email yourself your work to every email you have that either offers unlimited or a generous amount of storage. And invest in a an external drive. One large enough to store EVERY FILE on your computer.

That way if you're computer has a nervous breakdown you won't have a melt down when you discover you've lost all of your work.

6. You can put a bit of yourself into one character or every character, but never make them you. 
Make them react in their own way to things that happen to them, not you.

We give characters life, but its theirs to live in their very own unique way.

What do you think of those tips? Are there any tips that you swear by?
I'd love to hear from you.

Drop me a comment on this blog or contact me on Twitter where I tweet as @jenthom72

I hope to tweet you:)

Monday, 8 October 2018

5 ways you know you've written your characters well


Characters. Every great novel or work of writing needs them. Without good characters things fall flat regardless of how well something is written.

But, how do you know readers will find your characters interesting enough to keep on reading?



1.You find yourself yelling "there's no way he/she would do that."
You know them so well.


2.When you're writing a scene you find yourself getting into their head space and hearing, smelling and feeling what they do.

You're not there with them - you are them. At least whilst you're writing the scene. We're not talking multiple personality disorder here, but it might feel like it.

3.You find yourself talking about them in every day conversation as if they're a friend of yours or even a family member.

4.You start placing them in your favourite novels and TV shows relishing how they would react if they met your favourites in that book or TV show.

5.You can place them in any scene and you know how they will react. You don't have to overthink it.