Book - Stars and Bones

We're very lucky to be part of Titan Books' book tour for Stars and Bones. With the book out tomorrow, author Gareth L Powell shares his top five writing tips...

I’m supposed to be promoting my forthcoming novel Stars and Bones [read Steve's review of the book here - Ed], but instead I want to do something to help out the aspiring writers among you.

I took a creative writing course at university. It didn't prepare me for the realities of being a writer. So, what I'd like to do in this post is share the five most valuable pieces of writing advice I've learned since leaving university.
1. Never tell anyone the plot of your story until you’ve finished writing it. Once you’ve told your story, even in outline, some part of you relaxes. The story-telling urge is fulfilled. You’ve seen your audience react to it, and actually writing the story then becomes something of a chore, like you’re repeating yourself. It’s much better to keep the urge alive, driving you on until you’ve got the story down on paper, and you can then present it to the world in all its glory. Do you want to be a writer, or do you just want to be someone who talks about being a writer?

2. Write first, edit later. You can go back and polish the first draft once it’s finished. The important part is to get the bare bones of the story down on the page. Editing comes later. If you spend hours working and re-working every sentence, trying to get it perfect before moving on to the next, you’ll never get anywhere – which is one of my biggest problems and one I have to consciously work against.

3. Write the story one scene at a time. If you’re going to eat an elephant, you have to do it one mouthful at a time. In the same way, you can’t write a whole story or novel in one go. Break the narrative up into a series of important incidents, and then write a scene describing each incident.

4. Always be professional. If an editor asks you to make changes, make them. Don’t be precious about your masterwork. If an editor has taken the trouble to write to you to suggest making a change to your story, it means they’re really interested in it, and usually (if you’re sending your work to reputable editors) they’ll know a damn sight more than you do about what sells in their particular market. If they suggest a change, make it.

5. No one is going to give you the time to write. In order to survive, you'll need a day job. You may also have a family. Where are you going to find the time to write a novel? You have to make the time. Stop watching TV. Get up earlier or go to bed later. Write on the bus. Stop doing housework.

Not all advice works the same way for everybody, but these five tips have served me well over the years, and I hope they help you, too.

About Stars and Bones

Seventy-five years from today, the human race has been cast from a dying Earth to wander the stars in a vast fleet of arks—each shaped by its inhabitants into a diverse and fascinating new environment, with its own rules and eccentricities.

When her sister disappears while responding to a mysterious alien distress call, Eryn insists on being part of the crew sent to look for her. What she discovers on Candidate-623 is both terrifying and deadly. When the threat follows her back to the fleet and people start dying, she is tasked with seeking out a legendary recluse who may just hold the key to humanity’s survival.

Stars and Bones is published by Titan Books on 1st March 2022. Follow Gareth on Twitter and Instagram: @garethlpowell

Powered by Blogger.