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How to Prepare for Writing a Novel – Katie Fforde Oct 17, 2021

 

From the Desk of Katie Fforde 

Right at the beginning of my writing career, when I was trying to write novels for Mills and Boon (easy to read, incredibly hard to write) someone suggested it was easier to get historicals published. There was a shortage.

I quickly worked out a plot (hugely derivative – basically the girl dresses up as a boy to follow her love to sea) and went on to read a lot of novels by Patrick O’Brian as my research (I really enjoyed them!). All I had to do was start.

I did start, but I was only halfway down the first page when I realised I didn’t know what they wrote with on ships during the Napoleonic wars and my plot hung on me knowing this. I could probably have found out but it would have taken me weeks (which makes me think that Patrick O’B, a stickler for research and expert in the most obscure and finicky bits of rigging, possibly didn’t know, otherwise, why hadn’t it ever come up in any of his many...

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