Calling all aspiring romance writers! Our lovely author Sophie Pembroke is a judge for the Woman’s Weekly Fiction Short Story Competition and shares her top 5 writing tips!
Sophie Pembroke’s Top 5 Writing Tips
- Know your characters: Not just their eye colour or their middle name. You need to know what drives them – what they want more than anything in the world. Then you need to figure out why they want it, and what’s stopping them getting it. Working out a way for them to get what they want (or not, depending on the sort of story you’re telling) is what will make up your story.
- Have a plan – even if it’s not to plan: Whether you’re a planner or a pantser – someone who likes to plan out every detail of their story before they start writing, or someone who likes to make it all up as they go along – I think there’s value for everyone in at least a little bit of planning. If you know nothing else when you start, knowing where you want to end up (happy ending, hopeful ending, tragic ending etc) will help you set the tone for the whole story.
- Schedule it in: Many people want to write. Not nearly so many do. If you want to write, figure out when you are going to write. Put it on your calendar as a can’t-be-missed appointment and, when it rolls around, write. Then do it again. The only way to get to ‘The End’ is to actually sit down and write.
- Know why this story: Writing a story takes time, effort and a little bit of your soul. First draft, revisions, edits, copy edits, proofs… a lot goes into a single story. Knowing why telling this particular story matters – what it is about it’s characters or theme etc that makes it special to you – is important. Remembering it will help to keep you going when your story energy starts to flag.
- Revise, revise, revise: Nobody writes a perfect first draft. The story you’re telling can change dramatically from the first page to the last. So when you finish your first draft, let it sit for a little while, then dive back in. Spend some time smoothing out, strengthening conflicts, adding in the stuff that was in your head but not on the page, and tightening your prose. (Then be prepared to do it all again – and again – once an editor gets their hands on it!)
Get your hands on the 21st February issue of Women’s Weekly Fiction Magazine to find out more details on the short story competition!