TM Logan – Five Writing Commandments To Live By
Today I am delighted to be joined by TM Logan, author of LIES, who is sharing
Five writing commandments to live by
I’m going to start with a confession: I’m not sure I could name all Ten Commandments even if you held a gun to my head. I was a church choirboy for five years (including a stint as head boy) so you might assume I would have absorbed the details. And I would probably get six or seven. But ten? No chance. So after writing LIES I’ve created my very own five commandments for debut authors…
1. Thou shalt write every day.
When I’m into a first draft I will write every day, without fail, until it’s done. I believe it’s really important to maintain that momentum, to keep on top of the story and stay in touch with your characters. For me that means writing on buses, trains, planes, in hotel rooms, in car parks, in bed – wherever I can use the time. I’ll write anywhere. The flipside of this is that you should also read every day, challenging yourself with a variety of genres rather than always reading the same type of book.
2. Thou shalt observe, and listen, and pay attention to way people look and speak and move.
Honing your observation skills can help bring your characters to life. How does a particular individual walk into a room? Do they gesture when they talk? What does their expression tell you? Here’s a game you can play: the next time you are in a boring meeting, or sitting on the bus, or standing in a queue at the supermarket, pick someone out and think about how you’d describe them in a single sentence. If you had to paint a picture in the reader’s mind, how would you do it in 20 words or less?
3. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s plot.
Write the story that you want to write. Don’t follow the trend, don’t try to copy what was popular last week or last month. Don’t mimic the book that landed a big advance or a film deal. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from other books, other writers – quite the opposite. But you should find a story that you want to tell, and do your best to tell it. Aim to write a book that you would like to read myself. If your heart’s not in it, it will quickly become obvious to the reader.
4. Thou shalt avoid distractions.
My desk at home faces the wall so there’s nothing to distract me, no window, no view, no music. Because basically there are a lot of things that are easier to do than writing: never has doing the washing up been more attractive than when you’re supposed to be writing. But you have to resist the siren call of chores and social media (or at least organise your time better so you can do both). There’s always going to be something easier to do than sitting in that chair and putting your hands on the keyboard. But you have to realise when you’re making excuses to yourself – and just get on with it.
5. Thou shalt seek out feedback
This is a tough one. Seeking out constructive feedback can be difficult step to take. For a long time I didn’t show my work to anyone (even my wife) but at some point you are going to have to bite the bullet and ask for opinions on your writing. But if you choose the right people, feedback can improve your work immensely. Writing groups can be good for this, as can organised courses that bring like-minded writers together.
LIES is currently available in digital format and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lies-gripping-psychological-thriller-breath-ebook/dp/B01M0R1Y1J/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1485118716&sr=1-1&keywords=tm+logan
You can read my review of LIES by clicking here.