#WritingOn7: Jane Gill’s Top Ten Book Writing Tips

By Jane Gill
Assuming you already have a great idea/plot for a book:
1. You always need an antagonist and protagonist (to create tension; they don’t have to be people, they could be war, weather etc) without this you have no story. You then need to decide on the POV (point of view). it is said that 3rd person is the simplest.
2. Narrative style. It could be a straightforward linea story or perhaps a more complex split narrative. Your story idea might dictate this to you!
3. I always plot my story on a large piece of paper; to make sure I have a beginning (build up) middle (climax) and end (fallout and conclusion).
4. Research, research, research. The more authentic the better.
5. Write character sheets for everyone that appears in your book, even if you don’t write about it, you need to know it.
6. Because my novels are based in the past, and my family history, I do timelines for each year I’m writing about. I section these into months and plot my family’s whereabouts and the things of importance i.e.: political information.
7. I try and get into a writing routine. I’m most productive in the morning so: 1 hour of yoga, 4 hours of writing, lunch.
8. I have colour coded index cards for each chapter, my colours relate to locations as I have a split narrative: one based in Karachi the other in Bombay but they could just as easily be split into characters.
Index cards
9. Snippets: this is how I tackle information overload. Once I’ve written notes from lots off research that I wish to include in my book, I chop the paragraphs up and stick them on my writing room wall. Once used they get binned.
10. Venue change. Try writing in different places. I bought a cheap reconditioned MacBook…it’s fantastic not to be chained to my desk!


Garden writing room
Writing on holiday.
Jane’s book: Dance with Fireflies by Jane Gill

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