K.C. Finn Recommends…
The Top Ten Things You Need To Know To Be A Successful Writer
- Get Some Narrative Structure. I studied Vladimir Propp’s ‘Morphology of the Folk Tale’ for my final dissertation at university. It taught me an awful lot about how typical stories are structured in order to tell a successful tale, but it also allowed me to see how to adapt narrative structure to make exciting and unexpected twists in my plots.
- Practise Self-Discipline. Writing is not about how creative you are, it’s about how committed you are to producing the finished, polished product. You have to be able to set a target and meet it. You also have to be prepared for the stages of editing and re-reading that follow that first monumental draft. The end is never the end for a writer.
- Know Your Character Archetypes. I often refer to Propp again here, but Robert McKee’s ‘Story’ is also an excellent book for learning how to create heroes, villains and everyone in between. It is essential to make your character recognisable to the audience, but also give them suitable depth and reality that keeps people intrigued.
- Learning Doesn’t Stop At School. The most successful writers I know are those who are constantly pushing themselves to improve. Just because people like your work doesn’t mean you should be complacent and keep doling out the same thing all the time. Pursue new techniques, explore new horizons and keep your creativity fresh.
- Be Different. The age of carbon copy literature is dying out. People don’t just want a re-hashing of Twilight of The Hunger Games any more, they are looking for the next big thing. Twist the classic ideas, subvert well-known storylines and mash-up genres to produce something that’s original and unique to you.
- Be Representative. I’m sick of reading about good looking, straight, healthy white people in teen literature. Bring me your races, cultures, disabilities, orientations and identities that are present in the real world every day. Write a story about someone who doesn’t fit the Hollywood stereotype, and there will be an audience hungry for it.
- Engage With Your Readers. In the new world of social media marketing, you as a writer are just as important as your books. You are a brand, and you need to be out there showing people who you are, so they can connect with you personally and become invested in your career.
- Write, But Don’t Forget To Live. Writing is not everything. You may want to write every day, but you should not always be writing. Be social, be creative and be out exploring the world and learning new things, or your stories might become stale and all start to sound the same.
- Don’t Expect To Make A Lot Of Money. Most writers make sod all from their work, myself included. I don’t write because I want a luxury townhouse and a private chauffer someday. I write because it’s my passion to create the stories in my heart. Remember that, and you’ll always feel fulfilled, even if the bank balance doesn’t equate.
- Keep At It. The world is full of knock-backs and nasty, jealous people. When you express yourself creatively, there will always be someone there to knock you down again. Don’t let them into your world. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve created, and others will be inspired by you and you work too.
K.C. Finn is the author of The Synsk Series.
Book One— The Mind’s Eye— is currently FREE on all platforms.
A girl with a telepathic gift finds a boy clinging to his last hope during the war-torn climate of Europe, 1940.
At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one of the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.
As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time. There are secrets to be uncovered, both at home and abroad, and it’s up to Kit and Henri to come together and fight their own battles in the depths of the world’s greatest war.