Monday, 19 May 2014

Week Four: Rowan Coleman's 'Letter To A New Writer'

This week, I'm handing over my thoughts on novel writing to an excellent, prolific and very popular novelist, Rowan Coleman.

Rowan is writing a series of 'old-fashioned' letters this year - 52 letters, in fact, by eerie coincidence!! - and has agreed to team up with me this week by writing a letter to a new writer. Her letter will be posted simultaneously on both our blogs, through the magic of writerly synchronicity.

This week's letter is addressed to Sarah Callejo, a writer known to both of us through the marvellous Romantic Novelists Association, where Sarah is a member of their much-coveted New Writers Scheme.

Rowan Coleman, who is writing 52 Letters: One Letter, Every Week, For A Year.

Rowan Coleman grew up secretly longing to be a writer despite battling with dyslexia. After graduating from university she worked in bookselling and publishing for seven years before winning Company Magazine Young Writer of the Year in 2001. Her first novel Growing Up Twice was published in 2002.

Rowan has gone on to write eight novels for women including the bestseller The Accidental Mother, The Baby Group and The Accidental Wife, and eight novels for children and teens including the paranormal adventure novels Nearly Departed and Immortal Remains under the name Rook Hasting.

You can peruse Rowan's many novels on her website or here on Amazon UK and US.

Rowan Coleman's letter to Sarah Callejo - and any new writer - on how to approach writing a novel.

Thank you, Rowan!

This week's question is on the art of procrastination mentioned by Rowan in her letter: what excuses do you make when you put off writing your novel? (Or are you the dedicated type who never flags?)

Answers in the comment box below, please. Any comments for Rowan also very welcome!


  1. Nice post - any encouragement always goes a long way!!
    I'm always flagging - and its hardest to write when it's not going well. But then I just have to nail myself to the chair and write my way out of the sticky patch.

  2. Good letter. And Sarah will get there, I'm sure she will.

  3. I'm the daily word count type - once I've done my daily words I'm happy. If its going well, I keep writing, if its not I stop. But I got my 1000 words done at least.

  4. This was a good encouraging kick up the ..... Thank you Rowan!

  5. Distractions and procrastination?
    Emptying dishwasher and airing cupboard, food shopping, gaffing about on spill media.
    But as Rowan says,'Write the damn' book!' because the writing fairies are not going to come along in the night and do it for you...

  6. Well, at the chime of the perfectly oiled and polished clock standing next to me on my oiled and polished desk (which of course is in my pristine office), I sit down every day at the appointed time. From my perfectly manicured fingers flow AT LEAST 5K words before I waft to the kitchen in a cloud of perfume and silk scarves. I contemplate the edits that will make it even more perfect while my freshly ground coffee brews. The only things that interrupt me are calls from my agent/editor offering me even more money. Shame on you all. Shame on you.

  7. Great replies so far, thank you so much for commenting.

    Isn't Rowan's advice spot-on? I especially love the observation that any old idea for a novel just won't work. It has to have legs, it has to be book-shaped, i.e. be a book-length series of cause and effect decisions/actions that lead to one inescapable conclusion.

    In other words, it has to have a PLOT.

    What keeps me from the world of my novel? Many, many things. The internet though mostly these days. In the past it would have been my garden, or a good book, or my kids, or 'thinking', i.e. doing nowt in a productive manner.

    Bills drive me back to my desk. Bills and a fear of failure.

  8. I'm getting used to returning to full-time work after twenty years working part-time four days a week, so I'm missing those extra hours in a week that I previously had to write. However, I sit at my desk and aim to write 1,000 words, but once I get going I usually write more.


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Many thanks, Jane Holland