Rachel Caine – Tips for a wannabe writer?

Q. I love your series of books and read all of the time. I was wondering if you have any tips for me, I have always wanted to write a book of my own but dont know where to start? With publishers or what to write? I have some good ideas I am told but I always think it gets boring and never seem to be able to write enough? Kinda like writers block I guess!!
I was also wondering if you where ever planning on coming to the UK? I live in Scotland and would love to meet you. Sam Whale, Scotland

A. Hi Sam!
As far as writing your own book is concerned, I don’t think any of us really start out with a whole book as a goal. Try starting with a short story, or even a chapter … just something to get started. I can’t tell you how to pick what to write, because that’s very personal to each writer. As far as how I started, I remember being given an interesting assignment by a teacher in school — to write a story around a sentence that she gave me. The sentence was, “The clock struck twelve, and everything changed.” I know how I put together the story … you try it and see how you do!

I don’t think you should look for publishers right off, because writing is a lot like any other kind of art — it takes time to get really good at it, and publishers only can look at those who are at the top of their game. So first, practice, and write a lot, and be patient. I think of it as practicing music — I practiced scales and exercises for many years before I was ready to perform, and even after that, it took me years to play at a professional level. So writing is a lot like that, I think. It’s rarely something you can just sit down and do and be brilliant on the first try.

If your ideas stop being interesting to you after you start writing them, guess what? We all have that problem! The important thing is to stick with it. Sometimes if you feel that you can’t write enough on a particular idea, it may be because you need to make the idea bigger — instead of writing a story about one thing happening, see how you can start from there and make that one thing part of a much bigger thing (like one crime turning into a series of crimes, for instance).

I definitely will be back to the UK as soon possible — hopefully in 2011! Thank you for writing to me, and I hope to see you on my next visit to Scotland!

Rachel Caine

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