Six tips for finally writing that novel

By Frank Bolger - Last update

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So you want to finally write that book you ve been talking about for years. You know the one, the story about an office/ad agency/warehouse/school; featuring quirky characters worthy of Marian Keyes, dialogue as cracking as Roddy Doyle s, the wit of Oscar Wilde, and the warmth of Maeve Binchy.

But here s the thing, the ideas are all there, but every time you sit down at your computer to actually write the great Irish novel, you can t get past page two. It s a common problem. Luckily there are many things to can do to get over your writer s hump.

The great thing about reading is that you learn so much, it s like a how to write workshop right there in your hands – how to create characters who are so real they hop off the page, how to structure a plot, how to hold a reader s attention . . . everything.

It may sound obvious, but you learn to write by actually writing. Write as often as you can. The more practice you put in, the better you will be. Work those writing muscles! Try not to worry about what you are writing when you start out, the act of writing is the important thing and you can always go back and edit later.

Some people find it comforting to plan out their book carefully before they start writing; some jot down a loose plan and create character sketches; while others just jump straight in at the deep end.

Be Yourself When You re Writing
It s not an easy thing to do, but it s vitally important. Everyone has their own unique way of viewing the world, and their own unique writing voice. Use it.

Start with a Bang
Good books draw you in from the very first sentence. Try to start your own book or story in a fun, exciting way so your reader won t be able to put it down. It s vitally important that you catch your reader s attention from the very first sentence.

Here s an example from one of my own books: Boys! Clover taps her pink gel pen against her top teeth, making a hollow rattling noise. They never change.
(from Ask Amy Green: Boy Trouble).

Never Give Up
It took me a long time to get my first book published. But I kept trying. If being a writer is your dream, never give up.

Find a Writing Course That Suits You
Sometimes all you need is a wee push in the right direction to get you started. Luckily there are some great writing courses right across Ireland to help you achieve your dream. And that s where www. nightcourses. com comes in. I ve taught creative writing for many years now with Inkwell Writers, and I m delighted to say many of the writers passing through the Inkwell doors are now published. It works! Good luck finding a course that is right for you.

Sarah Webb (www. sarahwebb. ie) is a bestselling novelist and children s writer. She is author of the Amy Green series for young teens and her first early reader, Emma the Penguin has recently been published by O Brien Press. Sarah also writes romantic comedy for adults. Her tenth novel, The Shoestring Diaries: Julia, will be published in 2011.

Frank Bolger

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