How does the author of The Sunday Times Bestseller My Husband's Wife Jane Corry spend her writing days? Get to know more about her in the interview below, where she share her writing experiences and her advice.
Jane Corry a writer, an author published by Penguin, a former magazine journalist and teaches creative writing in Devon and if that is not enough she speaks at literary festival all over the world. Get ready to be inspired by a fantastic author.
- What does a typical writing day for you look like?
I get up between 6.30 and 7 am and run my dog along the beach. We live in the UK so it is pretty cold for most of the year! I get a lot of ideas when I’m running or walking. Often I pick up my granddaughter on the way and we have a pram jog with the dog! I go back and have breakfast with my husband and then I walk up two flights of stairs to the office at the top of our house. I’m generally there by 9.30 to 10am. I’ll write a chapter in about two hours. Usually, this amount to around 2,000 words. I trained as a journalist so I write fast. Then I have a break for lunch and spend part of the afternoon editing that chapter. After that, I catch up on emails and social media. Two days a week, I look after my granddaughter and then I write in the evening instead.
I prefer to get the first draft out and then go back and do several edits, focusing on plot continuity, characterisation and dialogue and setting.
- You have written the bestseller My Husband's Wife and your new book Blood Sisters both in the psychological suspense genre, my question for you is how do you come up with all the twists and turns? Do you know before you start writing the book or do you figure it out as you write?
I start with an idea and then I think of the kind of characters who would inhabit that world. I try to make each character as different from the others as possible. I usually have certain plot twists in my head before I start writing so I will have scribbled these down in a large book. I always have one notebook for each novel. Then I begin the first chapter by creating a character who has flaws but who is hopefully likeable. I put her in a tricky situation and go on from there. I find that the characters give me ideas on what to do with them. During the writing, I constantly think of more twists and then I will either go back and put them in or else make more notes so I can put them in later. During the revision process, I go back and sow seeds which are subtle signposts towards the twists. Ideas for these twists can come from anywhere. It might be something I spot in the street or it could be from the download of ideas which I often get at about 4am in the morning. I’ll wake with a start and have to write them down before I forget them.
- When you run writing workshops, what do you find the most important for a writer to know and learn?
To write what you feel passionate about. Make sure it has a spin or an angle which is different.
To create convincing characters who are warm but have problems. Without a problem, there is no story. A series of problems is best because it keeps the reader wanting to turn the page.
Decide who is telling the story. An overall narrator or a character or two or more. I write with two character viewpoints because it helps to move the plot along and also shows the reader what each character is like from different angles.
To create a cliff-hanger at the end of every chapter. You must end on a note where the reader wants to go on. Don’t have chapters that are too long or the reader might lose heart. I aim for around 2000 words.
To write every day if possible so that the story doesn’t go out of your head. It doesn’t matter if you can only manage half a page. It’s the continuity which counts.
Don’t panic about length. 100,000 (the average length) might sound a lot but you’ll be surprised at how it adds up.
Always revise by reading your own story aloud from the printed page and not the screen. You will pick up typos this way and also get an ear for how it sounds.
Network as much as possible to find an agent. Go to festivals where there are people from the industry and tell them about your book. Work out an ‘elevator’ pitch e.g. three lines which sum up your plot.
- What part of the writing process do you enjoy most?
The first draft when I am getting the plot out. Then the second when I start to tidy it up and it begins to make sense. I’ve also learned to love revision because it then hangs together. At least, that’s the idea!
- What is the best writing advice you can give?
You want to write a book? Do it. You are always going to be busy with other stuff. So don’t put it off until the children are older or you retire. Start now!
- What do you read at the moment?
I FOUND YOU by Lisa Jewell. I love her characters. This one has a mystery which I'm really enjoying.