Marina Oliver – Writer – Advice on Writing

General Advice on Writing

Getting ideas

Ideas come from everywhere

Tips for Developing Ideas

From the initial situation there are always alternative ways of moving on.
Ask what happens next.
Ask what you would do when faced with a choice.
Ask what your main character would be likely to do.
Look ahead – ask what will be the consequences of each possible choice.
Ask how you can make the situation more complicated.
Ask what problems you might introduce, or complications or obstacles.

Tips for Starters

Get right into the action
Make it exciting or intriguing
Establish time and place
Introduce characters
Pose questions
Show your style
Demonstrate the mood and type of book
Make the reader feel something good is coming

Research is fun

Submitting Manuscripts

See also Preparing Your ms and Disc

All typescripts offered for publication should be presented in the normal format required by publishers, namely:-

Text double-spaced
Wide margins – at least 1.5 inches (3-4cm)
No binding, just loose sheets held with an elastic band
A synopsis of max 1000 words
Total word count
In a strong padded envelope
With return postage

This detail is important – don't even think of sending typescripts to publishers or agents in any other form – they may not be read.

Reasons for these requirements are often not appreciated by authors.

Wide margins are essential for editing changes and notes.
Reading a heavy bound typescript is awkward – most readers pick up a few pages or a chapter at a time.
A synopsis helps a publisher to decide if a script matches his market needs.
And no one will pay for the return of unsolicited typescripts.
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