Deborah Moggach author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is speaking today,June 1st, at the Hay Festival 2013. The Festival is being held in Hay on Wye,UK. I read an author interview with Deborah Moggach in which she simple gives her “Rules” for Writing Fiction. We can find lots of versions of Rules for writing fiction all over the web and stuffed into paperback books about writing – and they are all very different because they are often something that works for the author and not a Universal Creed that ensures successful Fiction Writing. But, Deborah Moggarch’s list of ideas to think about when writing a novel seemed to hit the button for me, they were close to the truth with Kernel Points on what is important to bear in mind when writing a book.
I’ve written down her rules that she uses for herself. They seem to come from experience and reflect my experience as a writer, too. I haven’t copied them word for word but you can find them in the Daily Telegraph under Author Interviews.
1. Don’t go out
2.Don’t go online until after lunch
The first two rules seem obvious to someone who needs to be disciplined and industrious. Of course, writers do find find many a good reason to check the internet for a fact or some pertinent information about their own subject.
3.Don’t start writing your Novel until you know your Characters well.
All this waffle about “Plot or Character driven?” Try writing a book without characters and you’ll understand that character always comes first and therefore creates the story/storyline/Plot/Ending. If you don’t know your characters then you can’t know much about your real story. It won’t move anywhere without a Character driving it along. With a half baked character it’ll pop and fizzle for a few minutes and then peter out like a firework on a damp November night.Write sketches with your characters interacting in tense situations to find out about their inner motivations. What would your character do if they came across a road accident with dozens of people gawking and filming the scene on mobiles but nobody is attending to the injured? These sketches take a short while to write but are essential in getting to know your characters.
4. However hopeless and inadequate you feel,leave that self behind. Psyche yourself up and be confident about your work.
Self Confidence is all. If you approach your work with a half hearted attitude then you won’t find the energy for a whole novel. You are the master of your story and you and only you know how to write it. It’s very true, beginners and seasoned authors can’t know if their idea works until they’ve finished it and read as a whole piece.
5.Don’t Write. “Writing” is about showing off. Just tell your story. Have courage,be truthful,be true to your characters.
6. Don’t be daunted. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
Writing a novel is a huge adventure – and task. When it’s fun it’s really fun but if it stutters to a halt, put it aside and do other things. Your characters will let you know what is needed if you focus on them.
7. If character refuses to come alive, switch to first person narrative. You will be amazed at how much more alive that character becomes.
I’ve tried this and it’s fun and a big eye-opener. Different view-point gets you closer to the heart of your character’s feelings. You’ll find that your pen moves swiftly across the page after you give him or her the freedom to express themselves through first person feelings.
8.I have to know the ending before I can begin. Map out as much as you need but don’t over-plot or you can constrict your characters.
9.You don’t have to know the ending
8 and 9 short-circuit each other, so that’s up to the writer if they need to know the ending or not. Some writers find that with an ending planned out, the process of writing becomes mundane and boring because they know what’s going to happen. Others find that they need that goal of an ending to drive them forwards to a specific point in time and action. Flip a coin if you don’t know and find out which works for you.
10. You don’t need to listen to other people’s’ advice. There are many a would be author out there – amongst your best friends too – who are ready to give you free expert advice on how to write a novel. Very often coming as destructive criticism clothed in the form of Help.
11. Discover the best times when you are creative. Morning, nighttime or evenings. Clear time and work during your best and productive periods of the day.
12.Set out your priorities. There won’t be time for normal activities such as housework and hanging around for hours in bars. The Thriller authorLen Deightononce told an interviewer that he never watches TV and doesn’t waste time dusting his home – those times could be converted into good writing time.
I don’t watch TV – I gave the stupid-box away years ago and have never regretted it. I read a lot of books and my house cleaning duties are only once a week on a Saturday morning.
More about Writing Fiction