1. It’s all about the story, and every scene needs conflict. Only include scenes that move the story forward.

2. Speech needs to be more ‘West Wing’ than polite conversation. Cut normal conversation out as much as you can. The reader does not need to know that the tube was six minutes late. The characters need to be as interesting as possible. Never repeat in conversation something that the reader already knows. Every conversation, like every scene, needs conflict, and to pull the story forwards.

3. The writing strength is in the verb. Use adjectives sparingly.

4. If you are passionate about writing you are probably a creative thinker. So, you have a vivid imagination, treasure it. A lot of people can write well. Only some can write well and make up an interesting story.

5. Have a simple structure to hook your writing on to.

6. Listen to others’ comments about your novel, but retain your self-confidence. Don’t end up with their hotchpotch, instead of your own well-considered work.