I open my eyes. The cell is flooded with sunlight; the window is a splice of pale blue. Dust particles dance in the sparkling light, pirouetting in a golden line from the window to the opposite wall of the cell, where they seem to converge into shapes. It is like looking into a kaleidoscope. Dad isn't here. No one is, but me.
Robyn Knollys-Green is an A-list celebrity, famous for being the daughter of one of the world's most powerful men. But not even the paparazzi can find her now. Robyn begins to realise that she is trapped in a complicated web of global corruption and deceit - and that the strange, melancholy boy who has been tasked with guarding her might not be an enemy after all...
Captive is now published in the UK by Simon and Schuster and it's a great thriller that I'm sure YA fans will love. I'm excited to be part of A.J. Grainger's very first blog tour, and I hope you like the post she's written for me. Aspiring writers take note!
Ten tips on how to survive writing your first novel
A. J. Grainger, the author of Captive, gives ten tips on how to finish your first book.
1. Try to finish what you start. You don't know what you've got until you have a complete draft.
2. Your inner editor can be your worst enemy. Tell it to take a trip to the South of France until you've finished the first draft.
3. Don't look back! Keep moving forward with the story. If you spot a logic issue or something that isn't working, note it down to fix on the next draft.
4. Get help from other writers. To teach herself to write, Joy Nicholson, the author of the amazing The Tribes of Palos Verdes, would ‘cut pages out [of her favourite books] and paste them together, then hang them from the walls and study them to see how different writers wrote, how they made transitions and all that’. *
5. Do what works for you − whether that is free writing or micro-plotting, writing on a computer or by hand, writing in the bath, or in bed, or in a café, or hanging upside down. There is no right way to write.
6. Don't wait for your muse. Accept that some days will be easier than others and just write through it.
7. Write the story you want to write, not the one you think you should write or the one you think will make you the most money. In his book On Writing, Stephen King says, ‘Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open... Once you know what the story is and get it right − as right as you can, anyway − it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.’
8. Make yourself familiar with the three-act structure and then start applying it to every book you read or TV drama and film you watch. Seeing how other writers structure their work will help you to recognize the rhythm in your own more clearly.
9. Write every day, even if it is only 50 words. The writing muscle is like any other; it needs exercise. You wouldn't expect to be able to run a marathon without doing any training.
10. Once the first draft is written, it’s time to get in touch with your inner critic. Be hard on yourself. If something isn't working, get rid of it. But also learn to know when to let it go. No book is perfect.
*Quote from an interview with Joy Nicholson by Ron Hogan in Beatrice (http://www.beatrice.com/interviews/nicholson/)
Click to enlarge.