Bestselling Irish author Caroline Mitchell is here to help you free your words with some fail-safe writing tips!
Crime and psychological thriller writer Caroline Mitchell has become one of the hottest names in publishing over the past five years. Her last book, Silent Victim hit the Amazon No’1 spot in the UK, US and Australia, and won first place as best psychological thriller in the US Reader’s Favourite Awards. Her previous thriller, Witness, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Awards. Her works have been translated worldwide and her book, The Silent Twin, has been converted as an interactive app in the Chapters Interactive game. Caroline’s latest novel, The Secret Child, is published this month. Here are her top five writing tips for Free With Words.
1. Don’t get overwhelmed
Once you’ve worked out the general direction of your book, take it one chapter at a time. Think of it in terms of reaching a daily word count rather than a huge chunk of ninety thousand words. Cutting your work into bite-sized pieces makes it more manageable. You’re a lot more likely to get it done.
2. Protect your writing time
Commit to nailing your first draft and do everything in your power to get it done. Turn off the TV, wi-fi, phone and anything else likely to interfere with your time. Families can be interruptive when you work from home. Find a quiet place and pour your heart onto the page. You have to dig deep, hence why interruptions can be death to the written word.
3. Don’t edit and write
They are left and right brain activities. Allow yourself the luxury of free flow writing. Go back afterwards if you must, just don’t edit at the same time. Rest your manuscript then return to it with fresh eyes. Read your words aloud or get your computer to do it for you. MS Word now does it under the review section – you can even choose the voices; it will spare your throat. It’s surprising what you will pick up when you read your work aloud. Play out your dialogue as if you are on screen. Ignore strange looks from your family as they catch you talking to yourself!
4. Read lots of books
Don’t just stick to one author or genre. Read both good and bad. Learn from others mistakes if you come across work you don’t like. Make notes. What did they do wrong? What can you do better?
5. Invest in your writing
Work with an editor. There are plenty of freelance ones around. A good editor is invaluable. Take constructive criticism on board but only from people in the know. Go to writing retreats, writing festivals, join free Facebook writing groups. Immerse yourself in the world you want to be a part of.