Star author Lisa Heathfield gave us 7 tips to get us on our way to a bestseller

At this year’s YALC superstar author Lisa Heathfield, who wrote the brilliant ‘Seed’ and ‘Paper Butterflies’, held her very own workshop on creative writing.


Here are her top tips:

  • Tip number 1 – Read.
  • Tip number 2 – Write. Even if it is just a little bit a day, it gets you in the practice of writing. Lisa wrote her first book by writing just 500 words a day.
  • Tip number 3 – Learn to love editing! Rehashing and even ripping your work apart makes it even better.

kermit writing

  • Tip number 4 – Avoid stock phrases like ‘chilled to the bone’ which can take the reader out of the story. Find something that fits your own story better and is more true to your character’s voice.
  • Tip number 5 – If you’re stuck, try something that might take you into a different mind-set. Lisa recommends writing by hand to try something new!
  • Tip number 6 – Authentic characters are so important – we don’t shed our personalities in times of stress, so your characters shouldn’t either. Every action should be true to them!

yes to all

  • Tip number 7 – Never write to get published. Fads come and go, but you should always write because you love it.

Still stuck?

Lisa dreamed up some brilliant writing exercises to get you in the writing groove.

She asked the room to write the life history of a character in the time it take for a match to burn down. (Though she timed this before the event – fire safety, guys!) It forces you to get to the real heart of what is important/motivating a character.

i know all about you

Lisa then asked everyone to write about a character who is cooped up in one room for an hour – what is running through their mind in that time?

Grab your copy of ‘Paper Butterflies’ and see Lisa’s tips in action right here.

We’d love to see the results if you give these tips and exercises a go at @maximumpopbooks

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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