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Writing about what you know in a style that’s ‘you’!

December 5th, 2014

Research is all well and good, and a vital part of preparing a novel, but nothing beats writing about what you know. That knowledge you have about a particular topic is the best tool a writer has. When I first thought about this I almost resigned myself to writing some kind of story regarding the law as I’m trained as a criminal lawyer. But one of the points of writing, for me, is to escape: I wanted a relief from my day job – not to absorb myself in the law even further.


So then I thought about my upbringing – I grew up in a Vicarage as the daughter of a very eccentric vicar and I realised that my whole upbringing in that unusual setting was the perfect fodder for writing, particularly as there were lots of aspects about Vicarage life that were the polar opposite to general expectations. I’ve now published my first novel – ‘Christmas at the Vicarage’ – and I’m already writing a second book on the same theme.


That’s not to say I write exclusively about life in a Vicarage but I’ve tried previously to start novels about subjects I’m not so familiar with and found I could only go so far with them. With a topic I know inside out, there is always material there for me.


Christmas_at_the_Vic_Cover_for_KindleThe same goes for writing in a style that’s ‘you’. It can be tempting, sometimes, to emulate other authors you love and, though my true style has similarities with Rosamunde Pilcher (my favourite writer), I feel I’ve found – over time – a voice and style that’s truly mine. Again, this makes it easier to keep the book’s momentum going and I think readers can really appreciate a voice that’s genuine, too.


So my advice: write about what you know, in a way that’s ‘you,’ and you can’t go too far wrong.


Rebecca Boxall was born in East Sussex in 1977 and currently lives in Jersey with her husband and two children. She read English at the University of Warwick before training as a lawyer and she also studied Creative Writing with The Writer’s Bureau. Her first novel – ‘Christmas at the Vicarage’ – is available in kindle and paperback form on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebecca-Boxall/e/B00OGLLRAG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1415039239&sr=8-2-ent. She also has a Facebook page – Rebecca Boxall – Writer


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