Over time I’ve got into a routine of writing in the evenings (I’m more than happy to give up TV) and stick to it. My brain slips into “writing time” as I sit at my desk at roughly the same time each night. I schedule in my writing time so all my jobs are done during the day as I’m one of those people who can’t relax enough to write if I’ve anything outstanding. It does bug me! And above all I keep going. Persistence is a virtue!
I write novels long-hand and then use the typing up as my first edit. I usually manage to get rid of repetition during this process. I didn’t plan my first novel out in detail, it kind of evolved over time, but now I do work out plot details first. Does that stifle creativity? I don’t think so. I’ve found it triggers ideas and I can work out which of these I can use and where I can put them into my novel before actually writing it. It helps me not to go off the tangent and a plan helps me see gaps so I can then fill them in so I don’t write myself into a corner.
I edit, and edit, and edit. First edit is to get rid of repetition, including all unnecessary adjectives. Second edit is to look at the plot as a whole. Does it work? Is anything missing? By the time I get to a third read through and edit, I can usually spot where I can tighten the novel up further. At that point I think about sending it off somewhere!
Do spend time reading your work through on paper. I’ve lost count of the number of things I spotted on paper I totally missed on screen. There must be a psychological reason behind that but it won’t impress an editor! I always use the reverse side of anything I’ve worked on as scrap paper. Ensure toner/ink cartridges are up to scratch. If you’re wondering whether you need to change them before sending anything out, the answer is yes, you do! Editors/agents are looking for reasons to turn you down so don’t give them any!
Knowing Your Market
Think about your market carefully. Do you know who your latest story, novel is aimed at? Can you sum it up quickly (ideally in one sentence)? And do write what you love. Nobody can second guess how the market will go and I believe that if you write with true enthusiasm it will show in your work. I also believe if you try to write something to fit a perceived market, that will also show in your work.