Learning from mentors helps us to improve and evolve in our chosen field, and I still recall the advice given to me at the start of my writing journey.
To help other writers, I started a feature whereby established authors shared their words of wisdom and top ten writing tips.
It was a huge success and I was delighted to bring the feature back for a second season! You’ll find all the Top 10 Writing Tip articles here.
Meet Rachel Brimble
Rachel lives in a small town near Bath, England. She is the author of over 25 published novels including the Ladies of Carson Street trilogy, the Shop Girl series (Aria Fiction) and the Templeton Cove Stories (Harlequin).
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association as well as the Historical Novel Society and has thousands of social media followers all over the world.
Rachel’s Top 10 Writing Tips
- I’ll start with the best advice I was EVER given – ‘Give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft.’ Once I was fully onboard with this concept my output quadrupled, and my enjoyment of writing flourished. I write the novel from beginning to end without looking back. All aspects can be tidied up in the following drafts!
- Plotter or Pantser – either one is absolutely fine! Don’t get caught up in the ‘right way’ to write a novel. There is no such thing. Do whatever feels right to you.
- Dialogue – concentrate on really listening to your characters, hear their voices and write their dialogue as though you are taking dictation. Include natural pauses, interruptions etc.
- Trust your characters – if you are a plotter like me and your novel starts to veer away from the plan, try not to panic. Listen to your characters, let them lead the way – 25 plus novels later, I’m realising they are usually right in what they choose to do and when!
- Paint a picture – it’s important that you use all five senses as much as possible so that your readers can see, hear, smell, taste and touch along with your characters. Make your settings and scenes come alive by bringing in as much detail as possible without it becoming distracting.
- Accept that publicity is part of the job – gone are the days of authors writing and publishers publicising! I would say at least an hour, sometimes two, of my working day is spent on promotion, whether that be writing guest posts, completing interviews or posting on social media.
- Join a professional association in your chosen genre – I have been a member of the Romantic Novelists Association (https://romanticnovelistsassociation.org/) since 2010. I have gained more knowledge about the industry, the craft of writing and research skills than I ever would had I not become a member. You will not only learn vital information to help with your career, but make some life-long friends, too!
- Once your have an editor’s attention or, better still, signed a contract – loosen your grip on your book and listen to the advice and words of your editor. They are not the enemy (at least, they never have in my experience, and I’ve been traditionally published for over 14 years). They know the market, they know artwork and titles, they want you to succeed because… they want to make money! Be prepared to be flexible without being walked over.
- Submit and start again! The biggest mistake I think new writers make is submitting a novel and then waiting for days, weeks, months… sometimes years… before starting to write something new. Submit and then move onto your next project, book 2 in the series, whatever it is, just keep writing and try to forget about your submission for a few months.
- Read, read & read some more! To be a writer, you have to be a voracious reader – don’t just read your favourite genre or the genre you write in, branch out, try new authors and genres. There is nothing better than falling in love with a different kind of book or find a new to you author where you want to buy their entire backlist in one go. Words, sentences, plots and characters need to fuel your creativity so the stories you tell become even better!
Connect with Rachel here:
Book Blurb for A Widow’s Vow
From grieving widow…
1851. After her merchant husband saved her from a life of prostitution, Louisa Hill was briefly happy as a housewife in Bristol. But then a constable arrives at her door. Her husband has been found hanged in a Bath hotel room, a note and a key to a property in Bath the only things she has left of him. And now the debt collectors will come calling.
To a new life as a madam.
Forced to leave everything she knows behind, Louisa finds more painful betrayals waiting for her in the house in Bath. Left with no means of income, Louisa knows she has nothing to turn to but her old way of life. But this time, she’ll do it on her own terms – by turning her home into a brothel for upper class gentleman. And she’s determined to spare the girls she saves from the street the horrors she endured in the past.
Enlisting the help of Jacob Jackson, a quiet but feared boxer, to watch over the house, Louisa is about to embark on a life she never envisaged. Can she find the courage to forge this new path?
A Widow’s Vow is the first in a gripping and gritty new Victorian saga series from Rachel Brimble. You won’t be able to put it down.
BUY your copy of A Widow’s Vow here: mybook.to/widowsvow