NaNoWriMo Nov Day 24: Cathryn Constable

Posted by Jazz on Thursday November 24th, 2016

Today it's the turn of the wonderfully talented Cathryn Constable, author of the bestselling wintry adventure The Wolf Princess and her stunning new novel, The White Tower.

What would be your five top tips to budding writers?

1. Get the story straight before you start. It will save time later. I know everyone likes the romance of a surprise while they write, but there’s no romance about endlessly rewriting just to find the thread of the story. Trust me.

2. Get hold of, or improvise, a standing desk … Your bottom gets larger when you write and you won’t have time to go for those endless walks that everyone tells you are sooooo good for inspiration. And then find a treadmill or those weird steppers … Anything to keep you moving throughout the hours and hours you will be at your desk, otherwise you’ll crawl out of that chair each night and be unable to walk. (I’ve only just done this and it’s been a revelation!)

3. Lock the door when you work: no one can write with a constant fear of interruption. If people bust the lock, you will already be wearing the biggest baddest pair of headphones you can find and will imperiously wave them away. Interruptions are never helpful. No one bursts into your room to give you a line of dialogue or a neat plot point. They’re only coming in to tell you they’re going to walk the dog. And you’ll lose the next fifteen minutes getting back into the dream of your book. (Unless, of course, they’re coming in to tell you there’s a fire.)

4. Despair is not your friend. I’m afraid you’ve started, so you will finish and any ‘dark moments’ should be your own affair.

5. As Werner Herzog said, 'Take your fate into your own hands.’

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 every day?

I would say treat the month as you would a trip to a far country … Make some plans, have a structure, don’t be afraid if you get lost, but keep moving … But don’t expect to see very many people from ‘back home’ (you can’t see your friends when you go on a journey and writing is like going on a journey … send them a postcard if you are worried they won’t speak to you when you’ve finished). But … It’s only a month and you’ll come back with a novel!

Enter the Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition to be in with a chance of winning a £10k publishing contract! 

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