Goodreads asked D.K. Cowling:

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

D.K. Cowling Start drinking heavily! No seriously I would not advocate that.
I would set up my laptop with an A4 writing pad to the right and a calendar to the left. On the pad margin put a '1' for page one so that when you start writing you can note any relevant points, if it takes Darien all morning to travel from the castle to the farmhouse in chapter one then its no good having him doing it in an hour in chapter three. The horse 'Storm Sage' did I write Storm Sage or StormSage in chapter one? make a note so as your book grows you will have an easy referenc to check your details.

The calendar can be any year but before you start writing turn it to the season you start your story in. So winter time turn it to January and as time and months pass in your story turn the pages on your calendar. That way you will always know at a glance what season you are in.

When your all set and ready to go, leave the house. Go and look at things related to your story to get the feel of it. So if your writing your own Agatha Christie 'Murder on the Oakhampton Express' then take a ride on a steam train. What is on the floor? Wood? Vinyl? Carpet? what are the seats covered with? Are the windows clean or caked in soot?

All these details will help add substance to your book, don't cram it so full of detail that there's no room for the story but getting the 'feel' of your story is important. I know you can look all this up on the internet but that does not give the true picture.

Visit museums or other places relevant to you your book, you'll be surprised what you will take in subconsciously.

Create strong characters, give them a little bit of background so that the reader can have some empathy with them and don't make life to easy for your characters. Nobody makes life easy for you so why should life be plain sailing for them.

Finally start now! I met a lady today who said she was going to start writing in five years time when she retired and I said why? Why wait, if you wait you will not begin and if you do not begin you will never finish your novel

So good luck and good writing

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