How to write a book in 2019: An author and expert reveals her top tips for penning a novel
7 January 2019, 13:38 | Updated: 16 January 2019, 15:37
Have you ever had an idea you've always wanted to bring to life?
It's a common New Year's resolution to want to read more; with all the time spent glued to our phones and screens it wouldn't be a bad idea either.
But have you ever wanted to write a book?
Whether you have a story idea for kids, a novel idea for adults or just want to pen some some of your precious memories down for future generations to treasure, there is no time like the present.
We spoke to author Tobsha Learner (The Magick of Master Lilly) about taking those baby steps into novel writing and how you can write your own book in 2019.
Where's a good place to start when writing a book?
One might say the beginning, but it's not at simple as just sitting down and writing.
Tobsha recommends planning but insists that you shouldn't get intimidated by a blank page. She said: "Write the outline of the story in the form of a treatment. One page, a couple of pages – just so you have a whole structure to start with."
It's also important to decide what you're writing. "Pick a genre" she says.
"What are you favourite books? Study your favourite genre and author, break down your favourite book and look at their craft of writing."
"It's important to research!"
How much should you write each day?
Tobsha said she thinks you should aim to write a set quota a day.
She explains: "Once you’ve begun that first draft, get to the end of it. Lots of people make the mistake of not finishing a first draft and get intimidated by the idea the first page has to be perfect straight away – nobody works like that, everybody rewrites!"
"I aim for 5 pages a day, but for everybody else a couple of pages a day is really good!"
She also gave a nice reminder that you don't have to show your first draft to anyone either - it can totally be for your eyes only!
What is a good length for a novel?
"All stories have their natural length" says Tobsha, "It helps to overwrite because you can always hone down. But I would be looking at 300 pages."
Is it useful to start with a title of your book?
Tobsha says yes, although that sounds easier that we imagine it is!
She says: "I find psychologically it is great to start with a title, for me personally, you can just put underneath in brackets (working title) and then something organically might come up as you write the book that makes no sense."
We all try not to judge a book by its cover, but how do you come up with an amazing cover design?
The fact is that cover art actually is quite important after all, despite the fact we shouldn't see it that way, but it's all about grabbing attention.
Tobsha said: " The best thing is to think about what will grab attention, the current cover of The Maggick of Master Lilly is amazing."
"Personally I quite like photographic imagery as it can really grab a reader. It’s all about what image comes out of the book, it could be your character in a certain situation that just stays with you. If you’re self publishing you can certainly access imagery online and hire people that will help you."