Liz Kessler visits Cheadle Library Writing Group
Liz Kessler, author of the Emily Windsnap stories, described how she sets about writing her novels, which at 50,000 words are aimed at older primary school children.
First she sketches out a mind map and often follows that up with a collage of images that she selects intuitively in order to access the unconscious mind. She has gained some plot ideas this way; notably having her characters communicate in code in one of her novels. There are a variety of methods writers use to stimulate ideas. Some try writing with their non-dominant hand so that different neural pathways are used and may generate fresh thoughts.
Writing a novel takes Liz about a year and she describes herself as anal in the attention she pays to planning. She’ll spend some eight months in total on research and plotting. The plotting goes through several drafts and eventually ends up as a chapter-by-chapter break down. The advantage of this approach is that plot holes can be spotted before she’s done a large amount of writing, which may end up having to be scrapped. As an established writer she’ll send her plot breakdown to her agent who’ll comment on it.
Once she’s happy with the plot and her agent thinks it’s viable she writes a high daily word count, usually 2,000 words. A novel goes through several drafts before it’s ready to be sent off to her agent. Liz advises against sending your novels directly to publishers because if you’re later successful in getting an agent, who then works with you to improve your work, you may find that publisher won’t consider a resubmitted book.
Sounds like a lot of hard work, but Liz says series fiction is massive for younger readers; a very commercially successful area to go into.
Magazines are always on the look out for articles and fillers. She suggests this is a good place for writers to start getting their work published. In this case you don’t need an agent but do phone and find out where and to whom you should submit your work.
Find out more about Liz: http://www.lizkessler.co.uk/
Liz found the following books useful:
The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron
The Artist’s Way Workbook, Julia Cameron