My Top Writing Tips: Helen Maslin

Posted by Jazz on Wednesday September 16th, 2015

Who better to get writing tips from than actual, fully-fledged, their-books-are-on-the-shelves published authors? We've collected top writing tips from a whole bunch of our recently-published authors, who generously share their words of wisdom for getting that novel completed. First up is Helen Maslin, author of the deliciously dangerous and romantic Darkmere

What would be your five top tips to budding writers?

1. Remove Twitter from your bookmarks bar.

2. Stop putting it off and write.

3. Keep going – one word after another.


5. Leave it for a reasonable length of time before you edit.

What would your five top tips to NOT DO when writing a book?

1. Don’t compare your writing to that of other writers.

2. Don’t get too attached to anything.

3. Don’t answer the phone or the door to people who can’t understand you need writing time.

4. Don’t give up.

5. Don’t take any notice of internet writing tips like these – there is no right way to write.

For those hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo or enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, what would be your best tip for writing something everyday?

Like I said, there really isn’t a right or a wrong way to write. Just do whatever you need to do to get it finished. While I love the idea of NaNoWriMo, it doesn’t suit me as a way of writing. I need to go backwards and forwards and edit (or just fiddle with) my writing as I go along. Otherwise I get slower and slower – until I’m too depressed about the giant messy tangle of words behind me to go any further.

And then there’s the build up of GUILT as I miss my word-count every day. That’s not fun for me (or those who have to live with me).

So – yes – try to write something every day, but remember that ‘thinking time’ is good too. Because writing twenty brilliant words is better than twenty pages of rubbish.

If you want to write – you will write. If you don’t want to write, nothing I say will persuade you to get on with it. I have a friend who maintains that she wants to be a writer and I have said encouraging things to her almost every day for the last five years. And every day she comes up with another excuse for why she hasn’t written anything. (*Whispers* I don’t think she really wants to be a writer!)

Read the first chapter of Darkmere and follow Helen on Twitter

Find out more about the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition, including how to submit, by visiting our submissions page

Your comments (1)

Nick Garlick says...

I couldn't agree more about the 'backwards and forwards' comment. Actually, all the others are pretty good too - but that one describes perfectly the way my stories get finished. Editing as I go along persuades me that something good is going down on paper.

Added September 18th, 2015 at 7:58 am