The Good Teacher by Rachel Sargeant

Writing Tip Number Two

Here is my Writing Tip Number Two. Also my writing news, details of my current reads, and news of writing competitions and literary festivals.

Writing Tip Number Two is the easiest of my tips to implement, or at least it should be:

READ

Yes, that’s it: read. Writing Tip Number Two involves no pens, keyboards or blank sheets of paper. That’s got to make it easier than anything else to do with writing, hasn’t it?

Sometimes would-be writers say they’re worried that if they read other authors’ works, they’ll end up copying. However, if you are true to yourself and write the story you want to write and in your own, natural “voice”, your writing will be unique and not a copy of someone else’s.

It is my belief that you cannot be a writer if you don’t read. Why would you want to write if you don’t enjoy reading? Surely you’d only want to become an expert writer if you’d experienced first-hand the joy that books bring their readers?

These days I spend quite a bit of time talking to my agent, my editor, other authors and book bloggers. The one thing they all have in common is their love of reading and brilliant knowledge of books. Reading is the lifeblood that runs through the writing and publishing world.

And how can you become expert in a craft that you haven’t observed experts engaged in? I learn so much about technique and plot development by seeing how other writers work.

Reading lets me enrich my vocabulary and my cultural understanding of the world. I read not only the genres I write (psychological thriller and detective mysteries), but also other kinds of crime novels as well as literary and contemporary fiction. It’s good to read the runaway bestsellers and the reviews that their readers have left on GoodReads and Amazon. It’s fascinating to see why certain novels work so well.

Reading is great fun too. A great excuse for an escape from struggling with a first draft…

My Current Reads

So what am I reading right now?

I’ve just started The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin and Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. Both of these authors are new to me so it’s exciting to be discovering their writing.

Please click here to my previous blog post for reviews of the books I’ve recently enjoyed.

My Writing News

My HarperCollins copyeditor, Rhian, worked on my forthcoming psychological thriller, The Roommates. Thankfully I hadn’t made too many howlers in the manuscript although it turns out I don’t know the difference between “bale” and “bail”. The novel has now gone back to my editor, Finn, for proof copies to be prepared. I really hope the early reviewers like it.

This month I’ve increased my profile on BookBub and I’ve reviewed several novels on the website. Please follow me to read my reviews and hear about my forthcoming releases.

The blog tour for my detective mystery, The Good Teacher, finished on 31 January. I was thrilled with the support I received from the bloggers who took part and also from other bloggers and authors who shared and retweeted their posts.

Here is a taste of some of the reviews:

A great police based thriller with a good bit of humour, engaging characters as well as a serious subject at its heart. – Jen Med’s Book Reviews

The author uses such vivid and descriptive language that I actually felt as though I was Pippa’s invisible work partner. – The Ginger Book Geek

Addictive, intriguing and really had me flipping the pages as fast I could – A Daydreamer’s Thoughts.

I found Pippa a cracking character…The Good Teacher is a smashing book and very well worth reading. – Linda’s Book Bag

I’d recommend The Good Teacher to anybody who enjoys well-plotted crime novels with a domestic drama feel to them. – Hair Past A Freckle

One of those read in one sitting page turners with engaging characters and a good twisty plot – Liz Loves Books

it’s a fun, scream through-in-an-afternoon type of book – Reader’s Retreat

After reading The Good Teacher, it is safe to say that Rachel Sargeant is the newest author to be added to my list of automatic must reads – Murder and Moore

I liked Pippa and her team. The rivalries, the jokes and the loyalties were all convincing. – Steph’s Book Blog

Competitions

Henshaw Press have announced their latest short story competition and they’ve increased the prize money to £200 for first prize and £75 for second. For an additional fee you can receive a critique of your entry. This could be just the advice a writer needs to improve a story so it can be submitted successfully elsewhere in the future. One lucky entrant will receive a free critique. I entered one of their competitions a couple of years ago and was thrilled to come second. It’s amazing what a confidence boost it was to see my story on the Henshaw Press website.

Festivals
I have booked to attend CrimeFest in Bristol from 9 to 12 May. This is a festival devoted to crime fiction and will be my first ever visit to a literary festival so I’m both nervous and excited. Please say hello if you’re going too.

Looking ahead to the end of September, I will be on an author panel at Morecambe and Vice

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