Back in February I was delighted to run a blog tour spotlight for True Colours by Elly Redding. This gorgeous looking book is available in paperback and for kindle, and I’m a little sad (and a teeny bit ashamed… sorry Elly!) that I still haven’t been able to fit in reading her book myself. But many other readers have, and a significant number of them thought it was really something rather special. Not only did her book win a Chill With A Book Award…
… but then it won Book of the Month for March…
Now that really is just a little bit special, isn’t it? But of course, Elly was already an award winner – she also won the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance in 2014.
It’s been such a pleasure getting to know Elly a little better since our first encounter, and I’m really thrilled she agreed to join me to share her five top writing tips – things she learned on her way to publication. Over to you, Elly…
I often feel that my writing tips should come with a health warning. A bit like those boxes of Christmas crackers that contain hats I can never wear. Oh, the shame of all those torn attempts, but I digress… I’m delighted to be here to share my 5 tips on my way to publication, and I hope that at least one of them is of some help to you.
“No man is an island” I think John Donne once wrote, and I couldn’t agree more. Writing can be such a solitary profession, that it’s easy, sometimes, to forget you’re not alone. So, my first tip is to embrace the world outside. There are so many wonderful organisations and people out there, from The Society of Authors to individual book bloggers, just waiting to help and befriend you on your way.
I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) early on, a wonderful organisation for romance writers, and I have really enjoyed the experience. They run the New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) every year, offering a critique service by experienced authors and editors, which is an invaluable first step for the new author. They also hold an annual conference, full of excellent advice, given generously by those who have succeeded.
Tip number two is never give up. I wrote True Colours several years before I entered it for the New Talent Award of The Festival of Romance. Not yet a full-time writer, I’d been forced to put it to one side, when work and family ill-health intervened. However, encouraged by feedback from the NWS of the RNA, I thought why not? What’s the worst that can happen? To my actual amazement, I was shortlisted, and then went on to win. (Mini-tip here is to have a speech prepared, just in case the unexpected happens!)
Rejection hurts, criticism gnaws away at you, but even J K Rowling battled to get Harry Potter accepted. So, is there anything I can learn from the comments made? Might they have a point? And this leads me on to tip number three. You are never going to please all of the people all of the time. No-one knows your story like you do. As True Colours was going to be self-published, I wanted it to be the best it could be, so I chose excellent structural and copy editors. Did I agree with everything they suggested? On the whole, yes, but there were some elements which, try as I might, I couldn’t get the characters to agree to. So, I backed away. There is no one glove that fits all (back to my Christmas cracker story again ☺). Even with events of great sadness, we will all deal with it differently. My tip, therefore, is to be true to your story, but do listen to the advice of others. It usually comes with years of experience and I’ve found it to be invaluable.
Tip number four deals with the world of Social Media, and how to avoid spending all your time on Twitter or Facebook rather than creating that next masterpiece! I love the opportunities it gives to gain new friends and followers and to chat to them about other things besides writing. Only, before you know it, half the morning has gone and your hero is getting highly frustrated. How can he declare himself to the love of his life, if you’re not there to write it for him? So, I try and limit my access to fifteen minutes, three times a day. I say ‘try’, as it’s still a work in progress, but it’s always good to have a plan!
And tip number five? Write what you enjoy. I probably should have put that first, but it’s a lovely one to end on. I love romance. I love happy endings and I’m fascinated by second chances. Would I do things differently, if I had the opportunity? I love research too. Using the knowledge and experience of experts is key to making your story credible. Fortunately, for True Colours, I was able to tap into the extensive knowledge of a lifelong aviation enthusiast. After all, it’s important to know the difference between those elevators and ailerons!
So, whatever you’re writing and whatever stage you’re at, I wish you every success. I’m so grateful to Anne for asking me to share my tips. Good luck, too, with those paper-hats. If you find one that caters for folk like me, I’d love to hear from you…
Thank you so much Elly – one of those perfect “from the heart” posts, and some great advice for others. Let’s take a closer look at Elly’s book, True Colours…
“A wonderfully warm romance, with lots of emotion and passion, and a generous sprinkling of delicious wit. I loved this story!” – Joanne Walsh, author
From award winning author Elly Redding comes a fresh, effervescent, passionate romance that reunites Kate, a London career girl, with Saul, her seriously successful and gorgeous, ex-fiancé. He’s already broken her heart once, so maybe accepting his business proposition isn’t such a good idea. But sometimes decisions just aren’t that easy. As the chemistry between them bubbles with renewed vigour, Kate is sorely tempted. Can a leopard really change its spots – or is she just deceiving herself, with the man who broke her heart?
About the author
Elly Redding was born in London but now lives in Bedfordshire with her husband. She enjoys tap-dancing and watching the waves, although not necessarily at the same time. For more information visit Elly’s website, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.