Feeling generous Friday afternoon, I offered any aspiring writers out there to send me any questions they have about their writing journey. As an author and coach, I enjoy nothing more than encouraging and inspiring fellow writers to share their voices. A place I fill up on inspiration is LA, the place I have just arranged a trip to for my January fix of sunshine, happy vibes and açai bowls. As fabulous as this is, it does leave me a very short window to pack. Meaning I could only respond to three in the attention they deserve. A little like my childhood meals it was very much a case of first come, first served so congratulations to Emma, Oliver and Stella here are your Q and A’s and I am sure the answers will speak to many other creative souls reading.
Emma is an aspiring young adult fiction writer currently studying A level English.
Question: “Is it important in your early fiction to see yourself in your main character? Is it best to pick a character similar to you in age, gender or personality type”
Answer: Hi Emma, great question.
First, congratulations for choosing English as A level- great choice, I did the same and it’s a fabulous place to get inspired by Miss Bronte herself on your writing journey.
In your question you use the word best, Emma, there are no right or wrong ways to create a character. I am a big believer in write what you know, and the fact you have asked this question suggests to me that this is a choice you are drawn to with, call it intuition. We develop intuition as writers over time, during that process we look for a bit of reassurance that our choices are ok. And yes, yes this one is very much ok. Whether we create fictional characters or characters that entirely mirror ourselves, at some point the narrativrs will be influenced by our own perspectives, experiences and views as this is where we can pull the most truth and the truth is the base of the best writing.
Our first book is like the first baby, we don’t really know what we are doing we just know we are going to give birth to this dam thing, and we figure it out on the way. Enjoy the freedom to explore your choices, go with what feels authentic and like your voice, feel your way. When I wrote my first book the protagonist was much an exaggerated version of myself, I allowed her to do things that I hadn’t and many things that I had, you can make your character a mixture of whatever you feel they become, mix your creative magic with reality and courage and see who emerges! Good luck Emma.
Oliver is a flight attendant who whilst in the air has had a great idea for a book.
Question: “ I have a great idea for a character and travel adventure but never took a writing course, where am I best spending money to make sure I am taken seriously by publishers. Should I do a writing course or a coach? I really am excited about this and am looking for value for where I spend my time.
Answer: “Hi Oliver, so thrilled you have recognised that the universe has sent you an idea and your taking action on it. No wonder you are excited and while in the air, that’s certainly something to talk about when you are doing those author interviews.
Ok, so good question. I have been there myself, when I had the idea for my first book I was somewhere between ex lawyer and full time writer and had this idea, the chapters were pretty much writing themselves in my head. I done a few things, I took a course with an author, moved to LA to do a screenwriting course, soaked up inspiration everywhere from Hong Kong to New York. Though the most important thing is I started writing. During this process I learned so much that I now share with writers like yourself in my coaching programmes and sessions. As much as I enjoyed writing my first book, I have certainly streamlined the process and am passionate about sharing my secrets. If you would like a complimentary call to discuss further how we can work together, drop me an email and we can get that book well on the way.
Stella is a part time writer of short stories published by a local magazine.
Question” What are your top tips for getting rid of writers block?”
Hi Stella, and welcome to the club. Writer’s block is part of the parcel of being a writer, we all get it and we all have and develop our own ways to working with it. I say ‘with’ it, as this is how I approach Writer’s block which I call a creative pause. Instead of seeing it as a block, try a different view. Look at it as a gentle reminder you need to do something else to get a little bit of inspiration. Read a book, watch a movie, call a friend, do ten star jumps, make pancakes. Your creativity sounds like it needs a bit of freedom beyond staring at the page, I often jump on the phone to my coach for an hour to get a bit of a mindset re-boot other times I simply take a walk. If you want more help on this check out my last blog on writer’s block here. Keep going Stella, its great you got published by a magazine that’s a big win so give yourself a massive pat on the back for that. Good luck, keep going.
I loved reading all these questions and hearing from writers on different stages of the writing journey and remember guys and gals that writing remains a journey. We have to learn to kick back and enjoy the ride and all the places it takes us. Speaking of rides, I must finish my packing so I do not miss my flight. If anyone would like to chat about working together I would love to hear from you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a complimentary call.
Happy writing folks!