Carys Bray's top tips for debut authors


Debut author Carys Bray's beautiful and heart-breaking novel A Song for Issy Bradley tells the story of a devoted Mormon family struggling with the loss of their youngest daughter. 

Here, Carys offers budding novelists her advice on writing and how to get started.


1. Read


Read as much as you can. Read classic books and thrillers and literary fiction and science fiction and short stories and romance novels – read everything and discover what makes a book work for you.

2. Write

100,000 words is a daunting prospect. Break it down. If you can manage 500 words a day you'll have a 100,000 word draft in 200 days - that's just over six months. 

3. Don't be afraid to write rubbish

You can always delete it/make it sound lovely later. 

4. Leave out the bits a reader would skip

5. If you're stuck, go for a walk


6. Watch people - they're interesting

7. Listen to people

Read your dialogue aloud to see whether it sounds like speech.

8. Back up your work

I email drafts to myself at the end of each day.

9. Finish your work


10. Ignore other people's tips and do what works for you

More about Carys Bray

Carys Bray was brought up in a devout Mormon family. In her early thirties she left the church and replaced religion with writing. She was awarded the Scott prize for her debut short story collection Sweet Home. A Song for Issy Bradley is her first novel. Carys lives in Southport with her husband and four children. Follow Carys on Twitter



Last updated: about 3 years ago