Friday 2 February 2018

Stand by Me by S.D. Robertson

Release Date: 11th January 2018
Publisher: Avon
Genres:  Women's Fiction

They’ll always have each other…won’t they?

Lisa and Elliot have been best friends ever since the day they met as children. Popular, bright and sporty, Lisa was Elliot’s biggest supporter when the school bullies made his life a misery, and for that, he will always be grateful.

Twenty years later, life has pulled the pair apart and Lisa is struggling. Her marriage is floundering, her teenage kids are being secretive, and she’s so tired she can’t think straight. So when Elliot knocks on the door, looking much better than she remembers, she can’t help but be delighted to see her old friend again.

With Elliot back in their lives, Lisa’s family problems begin to improve – he’s like the fairy godmother she never had. As their bond deepens, she realises how much she’s missed him, and prays that this is one friendship that will last a lifetime. But sometimes, life has other ideas…

A heartwarming story perfect for fans of Keith Stewart and Jojo Moyes, that will leave you with a tear in your eye but hope in your heart.


To Plan or Not to Plan?

Is it best to plan your novel before you start writing it?

Some authors will tell you that planning is essential. Others will say not to bother, advising you to write ‘by the seat of your pants’. Make it up as you go along, in other words.

Personally, I’m an advocate for finding a middle ground between these two recognised writing techniques. Why? Because that’s what I do, although every writer is different. So what are the advantages of planning?

It helps you to achieve a balanced structure, for one thing, with a proper start, middle and end. It’s also less daunting when you set out to write each day if you know what’s going to happen in advance.
The chief downside, as I see it, is that you have to focus all of your inspiration into a small window of allocated ‘planning time’, which might not be the period when you’re at your most inventive.
Not planning encourages raw creativity, allowing for eureka moments to strike at any time. It is arguably more exciting than planning, due to the unknown nature of what you might write.
At its best, this can help generate unexpected twists that will thrill the reader. At its worst, it risks leading to uninspired endings that don’t have the benefit of being properly signposted and prepared for like a pre-planned finale.

If you’re not careful, there’s also the risk of inadvertently writing yourself down a literary cul-de-sac along the way, leaving you with nowhere to move forward.
Most proponents of the ‘seat of your pants’ technique – the great Stephen King being a prime example – tend to start with little more than an exciting concept to launch their story. Then … who knows? They have to trust that they’ll be inspired on a regular basis to keep the plot moving forward from there on.

Another practical problem with this method is that unless you’re a huge star, like Stephen King, your publisher will most likely request a plot synopsis well in advance of your manuscript being delivered. That’s tricky if you’re not yet sure where it’s going.

So why do I like to straddle the two different methods? Simple – it’s the best of both worlds. It’s having your cake and eating it.
I plan to a certain degree, which means coming up with a start, middle and end for my story, plus profiles for my key characters. I definitely have enough information to write a synopsis, but there’s also plenty of wiggle room, allowing me to introduce twists and turns as they occur to me along the way.
This is what works for me, but it won’t be for everyone. 

If you’re a budding author embarking on your first novel and you’re not sure how to proceed, I’d suggest sampling the different methods for yourself. You could always apply them to a short piece of writing initially, rather than a whole book. Trial and error should give you a decent idea of what will work for you. Then it’s time to get crafting that masterpiece.


Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his job as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming an author and to spend more time with his wife and daughter. His third novel, Stand By Me (Avon, £7.99), is a heartwarming story about the power of friendship. It is published on 11 January 2018. 

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