My first attempt at a children’s novel was an unmitigated disaster and one I shared with about thirty literary agents and publishers! I admit that there were perhaps one or two holes in my plot, characterisation, setting, pace, structure, climaxes, dialogue and probably much more. I just hope they won’t remember my name when I send them my next manuscript! What I learned from that experience was that it’s all very well putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard to get your story down but, if you’ve never written a novel before nor had the guidance notes from a creative writing course or something similar, it’s almost impossible to end up with something half decent. I know there are some authors who say they just write and write without a plan or structure but, of the really successful ones, there are very few. If you look at author websites or blogs there are always a list of dos’ and don’ts, most of which have common themes. You have to find what works for you.
If you try to read everything about how to write, you’ll spend your writing life reading. Here are the 6 Top Reads that changed the way I write: