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Author Life 1: Knowing Where To Start.

Welcome to part two of my author life series. You can find part one here. This week I’m going to discuss the importance of finding your voice and choosing the correct genre to write in.

Choose Your Genre

Do you want to write but are unsure where to start? The first thing you need to do is to choose the genre you want to write in, which best suits your writing voice. Voice is what sets your style of writing apart, the distinctive style that make readers come back for more. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t place enough emphasis on the need to stand out from the crowd. If you’ve previous experience in the field you’re writing in then don’t be afraid to use it. If not, you can find other ways of making your writing authentic, such as researching and talking to people in the know. Be clear. If you don’t know what your books represent, then how are your readers going to find you?

So you’ve chosen your genre and have some ideas… now what? Read, read, and read some more. You can find my top book tips here. Read the best books in the business and see what makes them work so well. Let those authors be your mentors. Take notes and read widely. You may find some books you don’t like – good. They’re a useful learning tool. Make notes of the bits you hate so you don’t fall into the same trap.


So you’re clear about the genre and what you want to write, what about book ideas? I have some good news for you. Your imagination is like a muscle, the more you use it the better it gets. Grab an ideas notebook. Write some ideas down, even the daft ones. Set aside a page for each one then play with them, asking questions from a reader’s viewpoint. Is it too far fetched? Is it interesting enough? Has it been done too many times before? How can you put a different spin on it? If you’re struggling to come up with ideas then go online. There are plenty of weird and wonderful real-life cases for inspiration. In Truth And Lies, I came up with the idea after reading an ad for an Ancestry DNA test. I wondered how I would feel if I found out my parents were serial killers. I played with the idea, made my protagonist a police detective and that’s when the story took off.


Characters are everything. You’re going to be spending the next few months with them in your head, so make them interesting. Each author has their own way of developing their characters, and you need to find yours. Some go into huge detail, others focus on the important bits – whatever works, there’s no right or wrong as long as it brings them to life. Personally, I go on Pinterest and save a private board for each book I write. I then ‘audition’ my characters, using pictures of real-life actors that I find online and save. I recommend using Scrivener too. It’s a great writing tool and has character and research pages you can put to good use. You can find out more about it here.


I’m going to leave you with an exercise you are either going to love or hate. I love writing the synopsis of my book and it’s the first thing I do. I figure that if I can’t make my novel sound interesting enough to buy then I’m writing the wrong story. To many authors, writing the pitch/synopsis is the worse part of the process – but it’s really worthwhile. So this week I want you to invest in a notebook. It doesn’t have to be fancy. When I first began I used to buy really pricey ones, but I tend to buy Pukka Pad A4 size notebooks with dividers now. Grab a pen, some highlighters and begin to plot your book. Use different dividers for characters, setting and story notes, but leave the front bit blank. I’ll tell you what to do with that next week. If you prefer not to plot then that’s totally up to you. But only by trying out different methods will you discover what works for you.

That’s all for this week. I hope you’ll join me for my next blog post. If you enjoyed my post do give it a like. Please note the small print: I don’t get a commission for the links that I share. They are external links and have no connection with me. My advice is solely as a result of my personal opinions and experiences, and my willingness to #payitforward Please don’t hold me responsible for any problems you may encounter during your writing journey. Images courtesy of stocksnap.

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