My top tip is to get that first draft of a novel down as quickly as possible. I think of it as a sculpture and at this stage I am throwing clay at the wire structure so that it’s completely covered with a base coat. I try not to edit in this draft; it doesn’t matter that Mary in chapter one becomes Caroline in chapter sixteen or that there are six Saturdays in a month. The first and subsequent edits will correct all that. I’m not a planner – some authors don’t put fingers to typewriter until every chapter is plotted, so if you are of that school, this probably won’t work for you. But I find that once I have that first ‘very’ rough draft down, the hardest part is out of the way. It’s then a pleasure to mould what I have into the shape of a story, adding and filling and stripping away what isn’t needed.
Milly Johnson has written several novels including A Summer Fling and Here Comes the Girls. Her next novel, An Autumn Crush, is out in September.