Claudia Carroll explains how she makes progress with a new story.
Before starting a new book, I always write out a pitch for it first, just a page or so, nice and short. Then I send it to my agent and editor and see what they think. If I get the thumbs up from them, one of my little tips is to write it out as a short story first, nothing that’ll ever see the light of day, it’s just an exercise for me really, to see if the story idea has legs.
Sometimes, I’ll start the short story and the fizz will run out of it, in which case I know that it’s back to the drawing board for me. But if the short story leaves me feeling there’s so much more I want to write, but don’t have room for, then I know I’m onto something.
Next step for me is to write a skeleton outline of any new story before I’d even sit down to write a line. It makes life so much easier later on, on the days when I find I’m a bit stuck. It takes me quite a long time to get to really know my characters, so I’d begin by writing out a rough biography for everyone of them, to try to make them as three-dimensional as possible.
A reader will quickly lose interest if they just don’t like the hero or heroine. You really have to try to layer them carefully so that they really jump off the page! Remember at the start of a new book, you’re asking a reader to go on a 400-page journey with your characters, and particularly your leading lady, so it’s vital to get character right early on.
Woody Allen once said, ‘there’s nothing to writing, all you have to do is sit down at a computer and open a vein.’ And believe me we all have plenty of days where we know just what he meant.
But equally you get great days, where the words are just flying and where without even noticing it, it’s five hours after you first sat down and you completely forgot to even eat. Writing is without doubt, the single best job in the whole entire world and I just feel so lucky and privileged to be doing it.
In a nutshell though, I try to try to keep the writing day as close to a nine to five job as possible. So I suppose here’s a little tip to would be authors who may be reading this; just ignore the door, put the phone on silent, don’t go online and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll get done. Really. My mother is by a mile the worst ‘time bandit’ offender, but then she thinks I spend all day every day daydreaming out the window and that books appear on shelves by magic. But then that’s a whole other story…
In a New York minute, everything can change …
You don’t mess with aspiring journalist Holly Johnson! The man she fell for is not all that he seems – because sometimes dating online doesn’t quite go to plan. She’s decided to fly to the Big Apple to surprise him and to get some answers. And if her plan works she’ll also get the scoop of her career …
But as she steps out of her yellow taxi and the first snowflakes start to fall, it’s Holly who has the surprise of her life.
What should be a dream come true is looking a little like a nightmare. But Holly is determined to get her New York happy ending!
Claudia Carroll is a number one bestselling author in Ireland and a top ten bestseller in the UK, selling over 300,000 copies of her paperbacks alone. She was born in Dublin where she still lives and where she has worked extensively both as a theatre and stage actress. She now writes full-time.