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Sunday 7 April 2013

3 Top Tips: Starting To Write

By Antonio Litterio

That’s far too intimidating.  Let your imagination run riot before you first pick up a pen, or switch on the computer. Live with your characters until they become real for you. Imagine what they would do in any given situation, from getting a flat tyre to finding a wallet in the street. Do they get out and fix the wheel themselves, or break down and cry? Would they pocket the cash, or take the wallet to the nearest police station? Once you know how they deal with the minor everyday problems, present them with a huge, life-changing situation. Make them suffer! Your need to find  out how they’ll react will get the words jumping from your fingertips.

Don’t jump on a bandwagon for the sole purpose of chasing sales. Write what you would love to read, because you need to tell a particular story, or because you want to pass on information. That said, if you want to reach the widest possible audience you’ll need to target your work carefully. Have a picture in your mind of your ideal reader, and tailor your work and vocabulary to suit them. Are they reading to escape into a world of romance and glamour, or do they want gritty adventure? True-life stories, or sheer fantasy?  Read widely, then you’ll be able to focus your efforts and really please your ideal reader.

Don’t be afraid to stop working and take a break when it’s going really well. Then you’ll be raring to go the next time you sit down to write. The chances are if you’re getting swept in in your work, your reader will be excited by it, too. In contrast, when the words just won’t come, taking some time off can be just what you need. However much you love your work, your health and family come first.  Regular breaks will help prevent conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis, and there’s nothing like a walk and some people-watching in the fresh air to sharpen the imagination.

What’s your favourite writing tip?

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