I'm delighted to welcome Louise to the blog. She has been very busy since the Exeter Novel Prize award ceremony in 2016! Below she tells us about her own writing journey and offers some excellent advice.
A memory came up on my social media recently from five years ago, particularly poignant given we can’t travel right now and I’m stuck in the Alps (not a terrible place to be ‘stuck,’ if truth be known). The photo memory was of my trip to Exeter in 2016 to the prize-giving ceremony for the Exeter Novel Prize hosted by the lovely folk at Creative Writing Matters.
The ceremony was held in the spectacular St Stephen’s Church in the centre of historical Exeter. Although I didn’t win, I was very proud to receive my gorgeous cut-glass trophy as one of the six finalists for my novel Strangers on a Bridgewhich led to its subsequent publication with HQ Stories, an imprint of Harper Collins. It was the start of my writing career, a dream job doing the thing I feel most passionate about, bringing my stories to readers.
Little did I know that five years later I would have two suspense novels published and short fiction in more than twenty print anthologies. I’ve just signed a contract for a third psychological thriller entitled The Beaten Track with indie publisher Red Dog Press. Here’s a link to the press release: https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/post/another-bed-in-the-kennel
And there are more stories and novels on the way.
If you have a yearning to write and think you have an idea for a novel, but can’t face the mammoth task of planning and writing it, start with something smaller. Start with a scene from your bigger story, act it out in your mind and write it down on paper or type it on your computer. Hone the dialogue, enrich your setting and build your longer story from there. Some of my novel ideas have come from short stories and have built into much bigger things. Don’t let the enormity of the task stop you from actually writing.
Entering competitions can become a little addictive. I’m a member of a private group of close-knit short fiction writers and find myself unable to stop the thrill of waiting to hear whether I’ve made a shortlist with a new piece of work (I’m currently in this situation, waiting to see whether my long-listed story makes it to the Exeter Short Story Prize shortlist!) This, luckily, keeps my interest in short fiction alive, while also juggling my time working on novel-length works.
Have you ever uttered the words: ‘I’m sure I’ve got a novel in me’? For any budding writers out there with an idea for a novel, don’t hold back! I would advocate finding a writing group, or a handful of other writers who would be willing to swap and critique work. A neutral eye can sometimes make the difference between finding yourself on that dreaded slush pile beside an editor’s desk, or reaching the shortlist of a prestigious competition such as the Exeter Novel Prize.
Find out more about Louise and her work on social media:
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