Writing Tips: Top Authors Share Their Top Tips on How to Write a Book


Have you always dreamed of writing a book but don’t know where to start? Let these book writing tips from some of the best-selling authors in the literary world help you …

Writing tips we can all learn from

Book Writing Tip # 1: Expect Lots of Rewrites

Hannah Rothschild, author of The Improbability of Love, which won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for Best Comedy Novel, and new novel House of Trelawny, said:

I run until the end of a first draft, then the hard work begins. I start from the first page, picking up the manuscript in pieces. My first book took 12 drafts; the second 14; and the last one had 11 versions. In my case, writing should be called rewriting.

Book Writing Tip # 2: Read, Read, and Read Again

Erin Kelly, bestselling author of the new novel Stone Mothers, said:

“You’d be surprised how many aspiring writers don’t read contemporary fiction. The only advice I would give any aspiring writer is read, read, read. If a good writer wants to grow up, you need a mix. of talent, luck and graft.

Book Writing Tip # 3: Don’t Be Afraid To Embrace The Comfort Of Home

Fiona Barton, British mystery writer whose new novel The Suspect has now been released, says:

“My guilty secret is that I stay in bed to write. I have a desk in the tower of my house in France, with a desk, a lumbar chair, a whiteboard, a mood board, photos and personal notes on the walls, but the desk, a lumbar chair, a board white, mood board, photos and personal notes on the walls, but the writing is done in a large double bed facing a window overlooking a lake.

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“My husband brings me cups of tea and I’m so steeped in history that I often don’t notice he was. I know this all sounds a bit Barbara Cartland, but there is no frou-frou bed jacket.

Book Writing Tip # 4: When You Write About The Mystery, Always Look For The Mystery Around You

Tana French, who recently published a book, The Wych Elm, says:

“I think most mystery writers are always looking for the potential mystery in everything. I have book ideas from an old suitcase in a dumpster, or from the days when we had mice. The Wych Elm was different. I was thinking a lot about luck and how too much luck can dampen our capacity for empathy – and around the same time I read an article about a skeleton found in an elm wych in 1943. Both things clicked together in my mind. “

Book Writing Tip # 5: Ask Tough Questions

Best-selling author Jodi Picoult, author of A Spark of Light, says:

“On a normal day, I do a five mile walk or run. Then I shower and walk down the stairs where my husband is waiting for me for a cup of coffee. After breakfast, I walk to my office. But my routine varies. If I do research, I can be anywhere in the world watching someone – an abortionist, a lawyer, an Amish farmer. office from around 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“What inspires me are questions I don’t have answers to. Writing is my way of understanding them.”

Book Writing Tip # 6: Seek Inspiration From The People Around You

writing tips

Best-selling author Marian Keyes, author of The Break, says:

“Wherever you are, where there are other people, there is a lot of inspiration for the characters in your novel. Look at these people, ask yourself about their lives. Have fun with it. lines of dialogue – what are they talking about?

“Look without judgment at how they look. Do they have fabulous pedicures? Do they light up when their kids approach them? People give us clues all the time and all you have to do is be vigilant. All you need is a trait to start building a life around them. “

Editorial tip # 7: step out of your comfort zone

Kit De Waal, whose debut novel My Name Is Leon became a bestseller, says:

“Being in an unfamiliar place is gold for a writer – your senses are working overtime. Grab a notebook and jot down your first impression as you enter the vast halls. Tap record on your smartphone – capture the noises in real time. “

Book Writing Tip # 8: Always Write Down Your Ideas

Gavin and Staceystar and author of the first novel Never Greener, Ruth Jones says:

“Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have an idea or think of a line of dialogue. I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t write it down right away, whatever that I’m like, I won’t remember it tomorrow morning. “

Book Writing Tip # 9: Try Listening to Music

Thriller writer Clare Mackintosh, bestselling author Let Me Lie, says:

“I listen to the kind of music you might hear in a spa. I find a track and play it over and over again for the same novel. I listen to it very softly and it instantly puts me in the right zone.”

Book Writing Tip # 10: Use Pressure to Your Advantage

Joanna Cannon, whose second novel Three Things About Elsie has now been released, says:

“The pressure of only having a half hour break to write has worked well for me. [Joanna wrote her debut novel,The Trouble with Goats and Sheep,when she was a junior doctor working in A&E]. Lots of writing is thought out, so I would when I walk the dog or on my way to work. So when my break came, I knew exactly what I wanted to write. “

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Book Writing Tip # 11: Immerse Yourself in Your Characters

Erica James, author of Coming Home to Island House, says:

“If at the end of the day I know the character whose point of view comes next, I make that the last thing I think about before I fall asleep and the first thing when I wake up.”


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