DARE TO WRITE A NOVEL is a book for anyone who's dreamed of writing a novel - or dreamed of writing a better novel - but isn't sure where to start.
It's for anyone who wishes they could find more time and motivation to write.
For anyone who wants to create more compelling characters and craft more interesting plots.
For anyone who dreams of one day seeing their book published.
Just think of it as an encouraging, entertaining - and occasionally butt-kicking - writing coach, in book form.
DARE TO WRITE A NOVEL guides you through every stage of the novel-writing process, from...
- overcoming blocks and fears
- coming up with ideas
- developing characters
- creating vivid fictional worlds
- and crafting plots
- editing your work
- and pitching to agents and publishers.
In the book I draw upon everything I've learned as an award-winning author and editorial consultant working with many of the top UK publishing houses, such as Faber & Faber, Hodder & Stoughton, Random House, Penguin, Walker Books, Scholastic and Egmont. As a writing coach I've also helped thousands of writers through my workshops, talks and one-to-one coaching sessions. It's long been a dream of mine to put everything I've taught - and learned - as a writing teacher into a book, so DARE TO WRITE A NOVEL has been a real labour of love.
More than anything else, I want this book to help people write with confidence and passion.
To help you get an even clearer idea of what DARE TO WRITE A NOVEL is about here's the Contents list...
PART ONE: DARE TO START
- Overcoming blocks and fears
- Seeing yourself as a writer
- For the love of writing
- Audio Recording: Perfect Writing Day Visualisation
- Finding Ideas and inspiration
- Keeping a writing journal
- Finding the idea that will light you up … and sit you down
- Developing a writing habit
PART TWO: DARE TO WRITE
- Creating compelling characters
- Audio Recording: Guided Character Visualisation
- Bringing the setting to life
- Crafting a page-turning plot
- Let’s talk about dialogue
- Decisions, decisions – choosing point of view and tense
- The art of the crap first draft
PART THREE: DARE TO STAY THE DISTANCE
- Creating the perfect writing conditions
- Three words on sex and violence
- A few more words on sex and violence
- Funny things that will happen once you begin to write
- Busting through blocks
- Audio Recording: Busting Through Writing Blocks
- Finding a band of fellow writers
PART FOUR: DARE TO REWRITE
- On finishing your first draft
- Taking a break
- The big picture edit
- Zooming in
- The 10 key second edit questions
- The dangers of over-editing
- The perils of showing your novel to friends and family
PART FIVE: DARE TO PITCH
- How to write a killer book proposal
- Book proposal template
- Sample book proposal
- Crafting a strong covering letter
- Pitching in person to agents
- Some expert advice from agents and publishers
AND FINALLY … DARE TO BELIEVE
- A final motivational call to action
- Audio recording: Dare to Believe
‘I went to Siobhan when I was pretty much down and out in writing terms. We talked, I cried a bit and laughed a lot and having listened to her wise words, came away enthused to start afresh. I did, and my new attitude has brought good luck and success – my sessions with Siobhan were the launch pad.’ Anna May Mangan, best-selling author of Me and Mine and radio and TV broadcaster
‘Siobhan is great. I worked with her on my first book, Liquid Millionaire, and I was so impressed with her attitude and expertise that she had to be my number one choice for my second book. I strongly recommend and endorse her whole-heartedly.’ Stephen Sutherland, Chief Investment Strategist, ISACO
‘I worked with Siobhan at a time of uncertainty and change in my writing career and I found our coaching conversations gave me fresh insights and a genuinely new perspective on my situation. The coaching calls still resonate with me as I move into a new phase of my work. I truly appreciate her wisdom.’ Jacqui Lofthouse, author of The Temple of Hymen, Bluethroat Morning and The Modigliani Girl
‘Siobhan has totally transformed my confused collection of ideas about my story into a coherent and compelling plot! She has shown genuine enthusiasm for my project and helped me to believe that I am capable of writing a novel. Her compassion and dedication is inspirational.’ Natalie Grahame
‘As soon as I had a vague idea of what I wanted my story to be, I met up with Siobhan and she helped me untangle the plot lines and sketch out interesting characters. Siobhan is the best mentor – I’ve been writing a great deal since and everything is going much more smoothly.’ Gabriela Harding, author of Santa Claws
‘Siobhan coached me regarding content, plot and characterisation and within nine months, my novel, Brothers and Lovers, was completed. It has sold well worldwide and I owe a great debt of gratitude to Siobhan for her interest, enthusiasm and guidance. I cannot praise her understanding of an author’s problems too highly and wholeheartedly recommend her services to any aspiring authors.’ Michael J Davidson, author of Brothers and Lovers
‘Siobhan Curham is a plot alchemist! Her honest, insightful and supportive feedback has shown me how I might transform my thin story into a coherent, fully-developed plot. She is completely on your side and wants you to succeed. I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time that I can start writing again.’ Lisa Berry
‘Siobhan is one of the most gifted writers I have worked with in the last fifteen years. Subtleties of character, tone and plotting seem to come easily to her. And what’s more she’s a joy to work with – a true professional.’ Leah Thaxton, Publisher, Faber & Faber
‘Siobhan not only knows how to craft a terrific story, but she writes with wit and intelligence, creating characters you believe in long after the last page. Her writing is up-beat, life-affirming and full of that rare and wonderful ingredient: heart.’ Mara Bergman, Senior Commissioning Editor, Walker Books
‘I’ve seen Siobhan at every stage of the creative process and she’s one of the very best. She’s always bubbling with rich ideas of her own, yet remains wonderfully responsive to those of others, with a gift for finding the heart and soul of a story and bringing it to vibrant life.’ Reg Wright, Director, Hothouse Fiction
‘Having worked with Siobhan in various capacities, I can vouch for her expertise. As her editor, I’ve seen how her own writing leaps from the page and touches her readers. And in her work as an editorial consultant, creating, shaping and developing concepts, and working with other writers, she’s an absolute pro. Creative, insightful, reliable and fun – what more could you ask for?’ Ali Dougal, Editorial Director, Egmont UK
‘Working with Siobhan has been an absolute pleasure. Her speedy turn-around times, collaborative approach and formidable creativity have led to a full-of-fun series, of which we can all be proud.’ Katie Cotton, Commissioning Editor, Templar Publishing
‘It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Siobhan. Her creativity and enthusiasm have been invaluable at every stage of the books’ journey – and made this project such a positive experience.’ Lucy Rogers, Commissioning Editor, Scholastic UK