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On The Third Day of Christmas


On The Third Day of Christmas

Welcome to day three of my Twelve Days of Christmas Writing Advice.

We made it! We survived Christmas, and we are now on the home stretch to 2023 hoping it has some better news in store. I’m trying to decide on my writing resolutions for the next year, both in my fiction and in my ghostwriting roles. I have a ghosting project that I am due to file at the end of March which means that January will be spent with that old friend, the blank page. It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve written — this will be my eighth non-fiction book — that expanse of white still strikes fear into any writer. But today’s mystery author has something to say about that, so let her be a mystery no longer…

Laura Marshall

Laura Marshall has written four novels and her first, Friend Request, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Her books — including Three Little Lies, The Anniversary and her latest, My Husband’s Killer — have been sold in 24 territories around the world and she has clocked up sales of more than half a million copies. Many of us dream of such numbers, and so how did she do it? Perhaps her advice to budding writers will give us a clue…

“Don’t be afraid of the blank page. If you allow yourself to be frightened of it, you’ll never write anything. And don’t wait for inspiration. If I did that, I’d never have written anything at all. Just sit down and write. If it’s terrible, what does it matter? At least you’ll have something to work with. Everybody’s first drafts are terrible – that’s what first drafts are for. And everybody thinks at around 30,000 words that their novel is the worst thing ever written and needs to be thrown on the fire, Amy March-style. That’s the point where you have to grit your teeth and plough on.

“When you finish writing for the day, try not to finish at the end of a scene. Make a few notes or write a couple of lines of the next scene – it makes it much easier when you sit down the next day.

“Find your tribe – other writers who will encourage you and listen to your woes (there will be woes – even the very successful writers I know suffer from crises of confidence). Join a creative writing class, find (or start) a writing group or look for writing hashtags on Twitter – there’s a whole online community where you can get so much advice and cheerleading. Also on Twitter, follow publishers, editors, literary agents and writers. You don’t even have to post anything, but just following them makes you part of the conversation and gives you an invaluable insight into the industry.”

• You can buy The Anniversary and all of Laura’s books at The Book Room using the links above

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