— Beyond all these tips, though, there’s one thing I want to leave you with: the fact that no-one is born able to write.
This can sometimes be tricky to get to grips with when you’re new to writing: but if you’re writing piece of fiction, you need to choose between past and present tense.
You can tell the story as though it’s already happened: Sometimes, there’s a place for switching from past to present tense or vice versa – but be careful that you don’t switch accidentally.
If you use the same word repeatedly within a short space of time, it can start to stand out for the reader and become a distraction from your writing.
This is particularly true of unusual words (I read a novel recently by an author with a particular liking for the word “stolid”).
Or perhaps it’s the other way round: you have some time during the week while your kids are at school, but your weekends are packed with activities.
It’s fine to set a writing schedule that suits you and your life …
Here’s an example: John locked the door before opening the letter. ” The word “door” appears four times in that paragraph, and there’s a danger of it having a slightly comic effect.
He could hear Sue moving around in the kitchen, just outside the door. Some words are fine to repeat as often as you like, however: little ones like “a”, “the”, “and”, “he”, “she and so on.
As a beginner, you’re in a great position to try out lots of different types of writing, without needing to commit to one in particular: no-one’s (yet! So have a go at a wide range of genres and styles – you might surprise yourself with what you enjoy.
I never set out to be a freelancer (my writing dreams were all about being a novelist) …