When people ask me what I was just thinking about, I usually just say “Oh, nothing”. It would be a little too complicated to explain the truth. Most people don‘t plan out a bank robbery on a Tuesday morning. Or, so I‘ve been told. So, if like me, you have always had a head full of stories, you may at some stage have toyed with the idea of writing a book. The prospect can seem daunting and the first reaction is often along the lines of, “I lack the life experience”. However, why let a good story wait?

Elisabeth Krauel, Forgive or Forget

Elisabeth Krauel, Forgive or Forget

The dream of being a writer came early to me. I have countless old notebooks filled with paragraphs of whichever ‘book’ I was writing at the time. Whenever I find one of my old stories, they mostly make me cringe – especially the ones I wrote around age 13, when I was feeling particularly deep. But I also know that those embarrassing little stories are part of the reason why I can now call myself an author.

So, here is some advice for anyone wanting to write a book:

Practice! Write down the stories in your head, let them sit for a while, and then come back to them. There is a lot to be learned from your own writing. You will quite possibly look at that oh-so-deep paragraph you wrote and come to the conclusion that you aren’t the philosopher you thought you were.

On the other hand, some of your work might make you laugh, and you’ll realise that writing humour is something that you’re good at. The important thing is to not be scared about trying out various styles, but to be honest with yourself about what doesn’t work for you.

You can also ask others for their opinion, but it’s been my experience that generally people are far too polite. No one will read a weak piece of writing and pull a disgusted face! Learn to trust your gut instinct and become your own best critic.

Another piece of advice especially concerns young writers: don’t worry about not knowing enough. When I started writing my book at the age of 19, during the global pandemic and lockdown, I frequently faced the problem that I knew little about how the world works. If your story is set in a fantasy world, you can make up your own rules, but I didn’t have that luxury. My internet search history during that time was wild. What vocational training could I get if I were hypothetically to go to prison? And how does one organise a funeral? At that point Google actively asked me if I was OK by featuring a self-help hotline in my search results!

The real world and its rules often messed with my storyline. But there is no need for a good story to be 100% accurate. Most people read to get away from the real world, anyway.

Most importantly, though, have fun with it! Don’t become obsessed about needing a deep message. If you enjoyed writing it, people will enjoy reading it. And at the end of the day, an entertained reader is what makes a good book.

Gripping new novel Forgive or Forget by Elisabeth Krauel, is due for official UK release in September 2022. The perfect read for fans of Unforgivable starring Sandra Bullock, The Midnight Library and The Girl on the Train by 21-year-old Elisabeth Krauel, who lives in Germany. Forgive or Forget is her debut novel, for which she was a finalist in the Page Turner Young Writer Awards 2021.