Tharun Chelley, author of Borders Monkeys shares his 7 tips for writing in a local setting:
- Interest. It is so easy to be bunked down with thinking about what other people like. However it doesn’t matter what they like. Writing is too subjective to be worried about what others like. Just think about what interests you and the more enthusiasm and passion you put into it, the reader will see that and be gripped by your writing.
- Characters. To get a real feel for a local setting, you need to think of your characters as they are the insight into the environment. Think of people you went to school with, or hung around with while growing up or work with today. Think of how they sound or act to get and put it together and you will have your local character.
- Setting. Think of where you are, with the streets, towns and feel. Have a walk around and try and get it mapped out in your mind, even take notes. Try your best to make sure your story is interlinked with where the story is and has the general feel of it. If it is truly in a local setting then your reader should be able to visit these places. Don’t be afraid to mention places you know. Try to remember, the story is where the fiction is, not the place.
- The “Oh my” moment. So when you are reading a book, watching a film or a play, there is always a moment that makes you go, “oh my.” This could be anything, a kiss, a murder, a business deal. Work your story towards this moment, and then the rest of the novel is the after effect of this moment.
- Structure. At school I was taught writing a story is like a meal. The beginning of the story is the starter. It gets the reader’s appetite going and their taste buds ready. The middle is the main, the delicious main course that fills the reader and makes them feel satisfied. Finally the end of your story is your dessert. End on a sweet note, making the reader happy, however always wanting more.
- Plan chapter by chapter. Have an idea where the story is going to go and plan each chapter. Think of what points you want to hit in each chapter and how it is going to link with and help with the rest of the story. Then while writing it, make sure you hit each point, because you put that point in there for a reason.
- Finally, don’t get too attached. You will never be 100% happy with your novel, therefore you will merely abandon it before sending it for publishing. So while editing it, don’t be afraid to change certain aspects. What might have made sense in the first draft may be complete nonsense by the time the final manuscript comes around. Don’t be afraid to change things. It might be difficult, however it has to be done.
Tharun Chelley’s debut novel is set in his hometown of Leicester. The post-apocalyptic story follows Layton, who was born into a world that has lost all sense of value. Following the breakdown of modern society, people have resorted to ancient means of survival. As an outsider, Layton is caught in the middle, not knowing which camp he should fall into. In a world ruled by chaos, can Layton find his place? It’s available to buy from Amazon, The Book Guild and all good bookshops.