Top 10 Writing Tips by Keri Beevis
Welcome to week 11 of our Top 10 Writing Tips by… feature. If you’ve missed any of the other top tip posts you can find them all HERE. Please feel free to pop over and connect with the wonderful authors who have taken part.
Learning from mentors helps us to improve and evolve in our chosen field, and I still recall the top tips given to me at the start of my writing journey. In honour of that, and to help the next generation of writers’ young and old, I started a feature whereby established authors impart their words of wisdom and share their top ten writing tips.
Next up for the challenge is author Keri Beevis.
Keri has always been something of a daydreamer. Even back when she was a tot and all the other babies were starting to crawl and walk and talk, she just sat there in her own little bubble, taking it all in, not in any rush to go anywhere.
As she grew, the pattern continued. She wanted to have adventures in Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree, and she longed for her life to be a John Hughes movie. Keri wanted to write like Stephen King and have her plots directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Never giving up on her dream, Keri is now an award-winning author of crime thrillers.
Keri’s Top Ten Tips:
- I failed my English GCSE twice, yet here I am with three novels in print and a two-book deal with a respected publisher. I am not suggesting education isn’t important – it is – but so is storytelling, and you don’t need a degree to be an author. Am I word perfect? Not by a long shot, but I try to learn from my mistakes and to better myself every day. My point is, if you failed at school, don’t give up on your dreams. There is always a way to reach them if you’re prepared to work for it.
- Which leads me on to my second point. Never be deterred by criticism. I imagine every successful author has had to deal with negativity, whether it was from a teacher at school, work colleagues, or even family, telling them that they are not good enough to be an author. Ignore them. You will never know if you don’t try.
- Perseverance is as important as talent. I wrote my first novel when I was twenty then at twenty-five I had two huge almost breaks. I wasn’t published until I was forty-one though, when I won a writing competition and received a contract with a local publisher. I have a drawer full of rejection letters and I used every one of them to spur me on. If I can make it after twenty years, so can you.
- Don’t copy the style of other authors, find your own voice, and never write to please readers. Write the story that you want to tell.
- Writing doesn’t have to be a nine to five job. Some authors I know prefer to work from early in the morning while others, like myself, are night owls. Find a routine that works for you then stick to it.
- Live with your characters. You need to bring these people to life and make your reader care about them. Sure, make notes about what they look like, about their history, list their mannerisms if you want, but try and live with these people in your head for a couple of months before telling their story. Talk to them, listen to how they sound, visualise their reactions to things, until they feel like they’re real. One of the saddest parts of writing a book for me is creating these people from nothing then having to say goodbye to them when the story ends.
- Make up your own rules. Some authors use a storyboard and meticulously plot out every chapter of the book before sitting down to write it. Others have a vague plot and figure it out as they go. There is no right or wrong way to write a book, so find the way that works for you. And word to the wise, if your characters have an inclination to do something unplanned, go with it.
- If you choose to go down the route of self-publishing, don’t overlook hiring a professional editor. This one is important and I’ve known a few authors who are arrogant and believe they are smart enough to pick up their own mistakes. They are wrong and a good editor will find important things that you (or your wife or friends if they’re proofing for you) haven’t even considered. There is a reason why those authors who don’t believe in editors aren’t overly successful. No one wants to (or should have to) read a badly written book.
- You are never too old to be an author. There is no expiry date on dreams, so if you want to try and write a novel, go ahead and do it. You may surprise yourself.
- Too often I will be enjoying a book and reading faster as it builds to the climax, only to be disappointed by a rushed or unsatisfying conclusion. Readers will have invested time in your story so don’t betray them at the last hurdle. Make the ending count.
Huge thanks to Keri for sharing her top tips with us. If you want to check out her new psychological thriller Dying To Tell out TODAY (26th September) then click HERE. Or you can follow Keri on Goodreads, Twitter or Facebook.
As the only survivor of a horrific car crash, Lila Amberson believes she is on the road to recovery after she is released from the hospital. Her memories of the accident are blurred though and a series of unsettling incidents leave her fearing for her safety. Does she have survivor’s guilt or is something more sinister at play?
Jack Foley is reeling from the shock of losing his sister in the crash and when he first meets Lila, he lashes out, blaming her for Stephanie’s death. But when Lila gives him a locket that she believes belonged to his sister, it presents more questions than answers.
As Lila and Jack work together to find out what really happened on the night of the accident, they are unaware that someone is watching them closely. Someone who has much to lose if the truth comes out, and someone who is prepared to do everything necessary to ensure all loose ends are taken care of.