Emily has written some top tips for would be authors.
‘Receiving a hand written letter is something that always puts a smile on my face, no matter who the sender is.’ Flora Tierney.
When post-graduate student Flora falls unexpectedly pregnant during her final year studies she hits a huge predicament; continue a recent affair with her handsome but mysterious lecturer who dazzles her with love letters taken from the ancient tale of ‘Abelard and Heloise', or chase after the past with her estranged first love?
But will either man be there to support her during the turmoil ahead?
‘Banish me, therefore, for ever from your heart’ - Abelard to Heloise.
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There's a novel in everyone - where is mine?!
Top five tips (I achieved from writing Letters to Eloise) for getting started on that elusive novel.
Letters to Eloise is the heart-wrenching debut epistolary novel by Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.
- If you don't get the lightning bolt; I have been lucky that my novel idea for 'Letters to Eloise', came to me all at once like a flash of lightning, not the finer details, but the basic plot idea. If you're not this lucky, try writing down lots of different ideas in a notebook until one idea hits you or several form together into one. My next novel formed from two ideas into one, it is a more psychological thriller this time. A little bit different from a romance!
- When you have the rough idea of a story or theme, start a handwritten note book and story map. I lined my bedroom wall with reversed Christmas wrapping paper then made a timeline of the novel across that. I drew drawings of the characters and important events in the story and added details as I went along. Forcharacter inspiration, I leafed through magazines and cut out anyone that fitted what I wanted. The same for name; I used a baby name book. This then fed into my grid timetable of each letter (chapter) in the story. The grid had the number of the chapter (date of letter) down the side, with information for each stage; great for organising sequence.
- Keep post-it notes next to your bed, guaranteed those best ideas are in the middle of the night. It is a bit old fashioned, but the light from your phone can disrupt sleep patterns/hormones, so I tried to avoid using the notes app on my phone. I find it harder to switch off after.
- No wine I'm afraid! Writing after a drink or two is def a no no, the errors will mount up! A glass of wine or two whilst looking at the story map and getting the creative juices going is a little different. I booked myself on a 10k run, raising money for the MS Society, so after running each night I would get down to the writing, too busy to pop open a cork! Plenty of time for a glass later, when celebrating the finished draft.
- Setting a realistic deadline is important. Many a novel of mine has been given up upon. To keep in the moment and ensure I finished, I set up a three month deadline for the first draft to be completed. I booked myself onto a writer course in London, where I needed to take my completed novel; an ideal incentive to finish. The initial ideas stage took several months and then I just sat down and got on with it! Writing was then surprisingly easy once it was all clear in my head. I wish I had done the same for the editing stage! Some evenings, I did experience writers block. I overcame this by not getting tied up with having to complete a chapter but moving around the story and writing the letters in a different order.
Best of luck writing your novel! I do hope you enjoy reading mine.
Thank you Emily - I'm sure these tips will be of help to aspiring authors.
About the Author
Emily Williams lives by the seaside in West Sussex with her family and a large menagerie of small pets. After graduating from Sussex University with a BA in Psychology, Emily trained as a primary school teacher and teaches in a local school. Letters to Eloise is her debut novel.
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