6 Top Tips On Finding Your Story with Author, Emma Pullar

Tuesday 6 November 2018

Emma Pullar is the author of children's books 'Kitty Stuck' and 'Curly from Shirley', the YA Dystopian series 'Skeletal' and 'Avian', and is currently working on her first Thriller novel. 

Emma has also recently added screenwriter to her list of growing projects - so it's safe to say, she is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Emma is proof that your writing doesn't always have to fit into just one box (genre), and that you should feel free to try new things in your writing!

Today, Emma shares with us her top tips on conquering self-doubt, knowing when to trust your story and how to find a writing routine that works for you!

1)   You have written for a variety of genres such as children’s books, dystopian novels and now you’re working on a thriller. Can you share your creative process from initial concept to final stages of writing?

I usually start whichever project seems to be shouting the loudest. 

I jot down concepts as they come to me, then I type out an outline and file it away for later. If it’s tugging at my mind, I start writing BUT I strongly recommend not writing something that won’t get going. 

Do not force it. You’ll hate it and it will be a mess. 

1.  Write down concepts as they come to you. Leave outlines in folders on your laptop until you are ready to commit. 

2.   If it’s not flowing, STOP! Never force it. Write something else. 

3. Once you have committed to an idea don’t stop if it becomes tricky. Finding something challenging and forcing a concept before its time are two different things.

2)  What is it you struggle most with as a writer, and how have you managed to overcome these challenges? 

‘Getting to the desk block’ is my biggest challenge. 

I think Jackie Collins coined that term. I have three kids, a hubby and a demanding cat. At one stage I was working as a dance teacher as well as writing full-time. I had no choice but to stop teaching. 

Something had to give. 

I overcome ‘desk block’ by not having an immaculate house. It’s clean but there’s often bits and bobs on worktops and Lego/games/craft sprawled around. 

I have to ignore it if I want to give time to writing. 

3)   How do you deal with the days where the writing feels 'harder', and maybe self-doubt creeps in? 

I deal with this on a daily basis. 

Self-doubt is a writer’s biggest test. 

We need it because without the doubt we wouldn’t push ourselves to write better BUT sometimes it tries to control us. 

Keep it on a lead, you are in control of the self-doubt dog, don’t let it run away, dragging you through the mud behind it.  

4)   What are your top tips when it comes to sticking to a writing routine, and how other writers can create their own?

I sit and think. I lie in a bubble bath and think. I stop at traffic lights and think. My kid’s teacher is talking to me and I’m thinking about her mannerisms and how she’d make a good serial killer character.

My process is always in motion. 

Routines are a must. Writers are dreamy, writers are flighty, and more often than not, we’re away with the fairies. 

1.   Choose a writing time and stick to it. I write from 9.30am-2pm every day. I used to write from 7pm-midnight when the kids were small and I worked waitressing and scrubbing hotels on weekends. Make a time for writing and stick to it. Even if it’s only an hour a day. 

2.   Have rituals. Every morning, I check my emails then have toast and tea before I sit down to write.  

3.   Make time for social media. We need to keep in contact with our online support system and readers/industry pros. Don’t spend all day laughing a cat memes (note to self) but do select times to go online and catch up with folks.  

5)   What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and would you mind sharing with us?

1.   Find a mentor(s). Lucy V Hay of Bang2write is mine. Bang2write is my bible.

2.   Get out and meet people in the industry.

3.   Help others. So much of my success has come off the back of helping someone.

4.   Get out of your comfort zone and say yes to fear-inducing opportunities.

5.   When something isn’t working, change it up. Try something else.

One big piece of advice comes from Chris Jones, creative director at The London Screenwriters’ Festival and all-round nice guy: ‘Don’t be THAT writer.’ 

Which means, do not be rude, difficult or an arsehole. No one wants to work with people like that and EVERY writer has a team to work with. 

This is not a solitary process.

There was once a person on writing course who was rude to me at EVERY opportunity. 

That writer now has an over their head.

Don’t be that writer. Respect everyone. 

Especially new writers. 

6) What ingredients do you believe make a great story, and how do these differ when you’re writing different genres – for Children, YA and Thriller? 

For children: Don’t ram morals down their throat. Make sure you appeal to the parent/grandparent as well as the child. Don’t be boring. Make them laugh. 

For young adults: They are mini adults not overgrown children. Think back to when you were sixteen and channel those emotions, thoughts and fears. I believe our teenage self is our most authentic. Be authentic. 

For thrillers: Give the reader a thrill. Make it relatable. Use your experiences. Even the bad stuff, taboo stuff, especially the personal stuff. Put it in. Don’t be afraid of what people will think of you. 

As a reader, do you want to read juicy gossip or something unremarkable and safe? I don’t mean gore, rape and shocking scenes for the sake of it. I mean something a bit naughty, cheeky or ill-advised. Less is often more. 

The smallest things can make the biggest impact. 

Be brave, be bold, be unforgettable. 

Happy writing!

If you'd like to find out more about Emma and her books, please checkout her links included below! 

BIO: Emma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and children’s books. She dabbles in screenwriting and has won/been shortlisted for several short story/script competitions. You can find Emma on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook or lurking in the shadows, spying on people in the name of inspiration and creativity.  www.emmapullar.com

Post a Comment