Cecelia Ahern, 33, offers expert writing tips to aspiring scribes. She has published several novels and short stories for anthologies. Her latest novel Flawed (Feiwel & Friends) will be released in April 2016.
- Discover your own style. Don’t try to repeat what has already been written – have the courage to do your own thing, and don’t be afraid to do something different.
- Decide where and when you want to write. I like space, and silence is an inspiration to me. I also tend to work at night and sleep during the day – but everyone’s different so find what suits you.
- Listen to your characters. When I start a novel, I know how it will begin and end, but I like to let the people within the story take me on a journey between those points, without having a fixed plan.
- Don’t force yourself to write. Some people can write a novel in a few months, whereas for others it can take over a year. I’m lucky to be one of the former – but, even so, if I’m not in the mood to write, I won’t. I’ll go off, do something else, and come back to it when I’m ready.
- Get feedback: from friends, family – anyone you trust to give an honest opinion. And don’t forget encouragement is as important as criticism, so look for that, too.