|Tasha Harrison was a magazine sub-editor and copywriter while she worked on writing novels in her spare time. Two years ago, Tasha took the plunge and decided to self-publish her commercial fiction book, Package Deal. The novel was a success and through Tasha’s hard work is available from Amazon.co.uk and various branches of Waterstone’s in Sussex. She now has an agent and is currently working on a new novel. Tasha lives in Brighton with her husband and two young daughters.
Tasha’s top 5 writing tips
1. Don’t think – write! You can’t plot every detail of your novel or book in advance. If you just put pen to paper or fingers on the keyboard and see what comes out, sometimes you’ll find your writing takes on a life of its own – with unexpected results.
2. Don’t intend the first thing you write to be a masterpiece. Treat it as a learning curve. Writing is a skill like any other, and it takes time to uncover your true writing voice. So don’t aim for perfection or attempt to write like someone else, just be true to yourself.
3. Join a creative writing class. I took an eight-week evening course and it was totally worth it. I learned a lot more than I expected and still refer to my notes several years later.
4. Once you start submitting sample chapters to agents, expect rejections. Send stuff to as many agents as you can – simultaneously, as some can take months to respond. If you get a bog-standard rejection, take it on the chin. If you get a personalised rejection with some constructive criticism, take it on board. If you get a rejection with a compliment, frame it – you’re obviously on the right track!
5. Failure can’t deal with persistence. Very few authors land a publishing deal with their first novel. I’m now working on my fourth, with guidance from a great agent. Everything I’ve done so far has been a learning experience and necessary step. If you love writing and the feedback you get is good, it’s just a matter of time and patience…
Find out more about Tasha at her website: http://www.tashaharrison.com
Tasha’s Essential Reads
(click on image to buy the book)
|the boy in the striped pyjamas by john boyneThis novel demonstrates how a story doesn’t need to be complicated or verbose in order to be compelling. The ending is one you won’t forget in a hurry.|
|a thousand splendid suns by khaled hosseiniI’m fascinated by life in Afghanistan, and so lapped up Hosseini’s first book, The Kite Runner. This follow-up is even better because it tells the tale of two women and their struggle to survive their hideous husband. Unputdownable!|
|the testament of gideon mack by james robertsonI didn’t think this would be my cup of tea, but I couldn’t put it down: a vicar who doesn’t believe, an affair that may or may not have happened, an encounter with the Devil . . . Wish I’d thought of it myself!|
|the right to write by julia cameronIf you don’t know how to get started, or if you doubt you’re good enough, this book will sort you out. I depend on it so much I never lend it out.|
|we need to talk about kevin by lionel shriverOK, so the first few chapters had me reaching for the dictionary and wondering why my vocabulary was at least 3,000 words less than Lionel Shriver’s, but then I forgot about that and got sucked in like fluff into a Dyson. Dark, thought-provoking, and a great one to bring up to start a heated discussion at dinner parties.|