M.A. Griffin's top 5 writing tips
We are super excited to share Lifers by M.A. Griffin with the wider world this month. An atmospheric noir thriller set in future Manchester, Lifers is packed full of high-octane adventure and tension, and is perfect for fans of The Maze Runner. Here, M.A. Griffin shares his top tips for aspiring writers ...
I’ve loved reading other Chicken House authors’ writing tips here on the blog; they’re clear, direct and inspiring. Here are five pieces of advice I’d like to add:
1. Finish what you start. Know how long you want your book to be – read similar books, estimate the number of words, count the chapters, figure out the chapter length. Knowing the shape and size of something helps you plot, plan and finish it.
2. Never stare at a blinking cursor or a blank page. If you’re stuck, skip the difficult bit. Move to a scene you can’t wait to write. Come back to the tough section later.
3. Know your characters inside out – by knowing their pockets and bags. For example, once you’ve pulled out the files, notes and books, what else is in your character’s schoolbag? You should know them so well you can reel off a list!
4. Play ‘What If?’. Recently, I was throwing pine cones into a lake with my five-year old. She confidently told me the lake was magical. 'It gives you a wish,' she explained, 'whenever you throw three pine cones in at once.' Wow, I thought. What if that were true? How long would it take someone to figure it out? What would be their test-wish? Their next wish? What if they shared this with someone? What if it all went wrong?
5. Write fearlessly until you’re done. Then, be ready to change your work. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find someone who gives you honest, insightful feedback on your writing. Even if it hurts, don’t ignore it.