10 Things I’ve Learned About Writing A Novel #MondayBlogs @toodletinkbaby #Books

#amwriting

Here are my reasons for letting author Roxie Cooper guest post on BlondeWriteMore today: 

  1. Her guest post is fab. It is written from the heart and it resonated with me in so many places.
  2. She has the name ‘Roxie’. Anyone who has same first name as my fictional character Roxy Collins is always welcome on my blog.
  3. Roxie Cooper is a fellow blonde romance writer.
  4. Her new book ‘The Law of Attraction’ is destined to be on my ‘To Be Read Pile.’
  5. Like me she can dance. I am not a professional or anything but I like to think of myself as a professional dancer, once I get on a dance floor at a party. *Sigh*
  6. She sounds like she would be great company for a coffee and a chat. 

So, here she is, Roxie Cooper, author / Barrister / Ex-ish dancer and Classicist.

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Hi,

Before I started writing The Law of Attraction I researched all the technical stuff; how to create good characters with internal conflict, what story arcs were, and what made a good sub-plot. But there are some things you simply can’t learn in a book. Between plotting the outlines of what became my debut novel all those years ago and my publication day last week, I’ve learned so much.

So here are my top ten most surprising things.

1) Writing is cathartic

People have their own reasons for starting to write. I’d never written anything before this book. I started writing it when I was in an unhappy marriage with two babies, living in a town where I didn’t know anyone, and I’d go weeks without speaking to another adult. I was in a very bad place. Writing suddenly gave me something to focus on and allowed me to ‘escape’. As the book progressed, so did my self-esteem. Words are powerful.

2) People can get a bit judgemental

Some people have written six novels whilst holding down three jobs, five kids and a circus of pets. Others have written one novel with no ‘real’ job or responsibilities. And then there’s everything in between. I think everyone on this scale is pretty impressive, to be honest. But some people like to be a bit judgy-face about it.

I don’t have a ‘proper job’ at the moment. This means that a lot of people think I spend all day sitting in a beautifully lit orangery, smiling smugly, sipping on chilled chardonnay as I gently type my latest novel out off the top of my head. Comments like “Oh! You must be well-off if you don’t have to work!” and “Alright for some!” are standard. Rarely can I be bothered to explain that I gave up my lucrative career as a barrister after much consideration to care for my son who has special needs. After home-schooling him for several years, it became impractical for me to return to the Bar once he finally settled in school, for various reasons. Everyone has a story behind them, everyone makes sacrifices, but many are quick to judge.

But…

3) People can be wonderfully supportive

You truly do find out who your friends are when you write a book. It’s such a gruelling, exhausting process. You’ll be so grateful for the little “Keep going!” comments when you’re close to collapsing, which then lead onto “I bought your book!” when you’re published. These people who prop you up all the way through the whole writing, edits, submission, book deal, revisions polava are the special ones. The week before I was published I had a little local drinks gathering for my friends to thank them for their support, because I couldn’t have done it without them. They made me feel so very loved and I couldn’t thank them enough for that.

4) You read other novels and watch films in a completely different way

I find it impossible now to read novels without deconstructing them. Even films follow a formula (if you want a classic, basic template for a story – watch any Disney film). Breaking down films and books has really helped me find out what makes a great character, plot and twist in a story.

5) Your house will become a rubbish tip.

As you get more into your book, the more time you will dedicate to it. When you have a deadline, don’t even think about doing anything else remotely important like eating, dressing your children or cleaning your house – all of these things can wait until you press SEND. If you’re a dust control freak like me, this WILL drive you crazy, but you’ve kind of just got to run with it.

6) People will ask you wildly inappropriate questions.

Because you’ve created a literary piece of work and thrown it out into the world, some people think it’s okay to ask things like “So, how much money do you earn now?”, “How much was your advance?” and, most cringingly, “Who was that sex scene based on?”. The best way of dealing with these questions is to throw it back in their face: “Tell me how much YOU earn first…” and “Well, Gordon, that scene isn’t based on you going by what your wife tells me… *all the sarcastic LOLZ *”

7) You’ll develop amnesia at the most inconvenient moments.

You’re in the shower. You’re walking to pick the kids up with your iPod on. You’ve thought of THE most incredible scene; rich dialogue, beautifully descriptive, the whole thing is swoon-a-rama. “My God”, you think. “I have NAILED THIS!” You finally sit down to type it up…and you can’t remember a damn thing. You remember bits of it, but on the screen it literally sounds like a half-asleep toddler has written it.

8) You develop the patience of a saint

This one is hard, but it pays off. So, you’ve started writing this new book and the first three chapters are GREAT. You’re desperate to send them off to an agent. DO NOT do it. Why? Well, not only because – even if it’s brilliant – they will tell you to write the rest of the book. Some wise soul said “You can’t write the beginning until you’ve written the end” and this is 100% true. Your characters and plot change so much by the end, you may want to change those early chapters. So much depth was added to The Law of Attraction by adding the prologue…which was done after I’d finished the entire book. Don’t be in a rush to show your book off to the world, make sure it’s the best it can possibly be.

9) You become obsessed

Writing consumes you. You cannot switch off. I no longer watch TV on an evening (well, apart from Game of Thrones, obviously). Every non-child weekend I spend writing because I’d feel guilty doing anything else and, ultimately, I am addicted to it. Who knows if I’ll be successful? All I know is that I love it and can’t stop.

10) Some stuff you type will be the worst writing the world has ever seen…

Terrible. I mean, REALLY awful. The words won’t come. You’ll cringe. You’ll hate yourself. You might cry. Okay…STOP. Shut your laptop down. Go out with friends and have a drink. Go dancing. Go to the cinema. Forget about it for a day. There will be other days when you write stuff so bloody brilliant, you’ll read back on it and think “Yeah…I got this”.

***

Roxie was born and bred in Middlesbrough. After studying Classics at University, she became a dancer in a nightclub for a few years, before going travelling and living in Australia. When she returned, she swapped dancing on a bar, to practising at the Bar, and became a barrister for 7 years.

It was after being constantly told “Ooh! You don’t look like a barrister!” by absolutely everyone she met, that the idea for her debut novel was born.

Roxie lives in Yarm, a pretty little market town in the North-East. She’s a bit (lot) obsessed with Prince and spends far too much time watching him on YouTube. Her hobbies include watching musicals, making her hair as big (and blonde) as possible, and wishing she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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THE LAW OF ATTRACTION

Amanda Bentley has always dreamed of being a barrister…

But as a platinum blonde bombshell from the wrong side of town, with a perfect tan and sleek high heels, she doesn’t exactly look the part – or fit in with the brash public school boys and cold posh girls of Newcastle Crown Court’s robing room. Amanda’s never been one to back down from a challenge, and so when she wins a prestigious pupillage following law school, she’s determined to make the most of her chance – and make all her dreams come true.

Only three things stand in her way: Sid Ryder – the sexy, irresistible barrister who she absolutely cannot, under any circumstances, sleep with. At all. Marty Gregg – her smarmy law school nemesis, who she’s in direct competition with for the top job. And her big, dark secret that could jeopardise everything she’s worked so hard for.
Who said that following the laws of attraction was going to be easy…?

Isn’t Roxie Cooper fab?

I think this is an excellent guest post Roxie and thank you for taking over BlondeWriteMore today! Yay – blonde romance writers rule 🙂

You can contact Roxie on Twitter at @toodletinkbaby or on Facebook here. 

Have a great day all.

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

16 thoughts on “10 Things I’ve Learned About Writing A Novel #MondayBlogs @toodletinkbaby #Books

  1. Love it! Especially the ‘house as a tip’ bit. If someone is coming to stay, I totally freak out and spend 2 days cleaning that place up. We don’t encourage visitors. Happily, my husband totally gets this creative stuff….

  2. Love this post – and totally agree with all of it, especially the first point. I’ve often said that as a writer you kind of become your own shrink – the amount of times I’ve been happily writing a scene I thought had nothing to do with me or my life, when it’s suddenly clicked that actually I was really hurt by xyz and that’s why this character is doing what they are…. I’m guessing that’s a good thing?! 😂

  3. Wonderful post on writing and on the highs and lows of writing a novel. I began my writing life in similar circumstances as a single mom to two babies. Writing was my salvation. And since then, I’ve been teaching creative writing classes for over 20 years. I love seeing the look of surprise in my adult students as they find their own release from writing. I have published two romantic suspense novels and I applaud Roxie in her publication of Law of Attraction. I know how much work it is, and I know that the more we support each other in our writing and our publishing, the better we all do. Best of luck to Roxie!

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