Eve Chase's top tips for debut authors
Debut author Eve Chase always wanted to write about families - ones that go wrong but somehow survive - and big old houses, where family secrets and untold stories seed in the crumbling stone walls. Black Rabbit Hall is such a story.
1. Give your novel plenty of attention
2. Real writers don't do laundry
3. Slog it out- don't resign your book to the fate of forgotten drafts
4. Change something. Anything
If you’re stuck or can’t get the writing to sing, change something. It could just be the font style – this can jolt the brain. Or rewrite a chapter from a different point of view. How does it sound? Trust your instincts. I’ve changed the tense in an entire novel before. It took ages. But it made the story work.
5. Don't be afraid to wield the red pen
Always print out and read on paper, not just the screen. It’s amazing how many errors – typos, repetitions, adverbs, unintentional rhymes – the screen buries. On paper they leap out like pixies. And then there is the satisfaction of striking them down with red pen.
6. Cut, cut, cut
Don’t be afraid to cut, then cut again. Yes, it’s painful. All those words. "A little like murdering children," as Stephen King says. Many novelists – myself included – will have cut at least 30,000 words from a 90,000 novel by the end. (Resist working it out in writing hours.)
7. Aim high but be humble
You need ego to write – the next Girl On The Train, why not? – but humility and harsh self-criticism to make your writing worth reading. In practical terms this means rewrite everything. Rewrite it again. Read all the time. Learn from writers who are better than you.
8. Don't think about your mother reading it
Write without self-consciousness. I forget about the reader – any reader, let alone reviewers – while deep in my writing otherwise it’s inhibiting. Don’t ever think about friends reading it. Or worse, your mother.
9. Plan your elevator pitch
You don’t need the entire story plotted out before writing. But you do need a premise, your own private elevator pitch: 'My story is about…' When you get to the end of the book, ask yourself if you’ve satisfied it. If the answer is 'Pants, the book I’ve written is totally about something else!', that’s okay. Breathe. Think of a new premise. But do have one. It’ll tighten the story. And a cracking premise will help sell your book.
10. Channel Jack Kerouac
Finally... make difficult decisions
More about Eve Chase
Last updated: 5 months ago