Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table.
The man who stands over her isn't a doctor.
The offer he makes her is utterly unspeakable.
But when Alex re-awakens, she's unharmed - and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind.
And then she meets the next victim.
I am delighted to be on the blog tour today for Don't Wait Up by Liz Lawler. This will be published on the 18th May by Bonnier Zaffre. Today Liz is sharing with us her Top Five Writing Tips! Welcome Liz and thanks so much for popping along!
5 top writing tips...
I don’t know if any of my writing tips will be useful. I can only give you tips that have helped me!
Think about your story for as long as you can before writing it. Dream it and let it build with images and feelings until you’re fit to burst with need to get it out of your head. Walk through your own story, and imagine, if you can bear to, being the character you write about. Feel their emotions, their laughter and tears and hatred and fears. Get to know your characters and stay truthful to them. Don’t cheat them out of being who they are in your story.
Try not to compare yourself to other writers; especially those you are in awe of, or else you may think you are never going to be good enough to be a writer and stop before you even start. Instead be inspired by authors you love and keep practicing until you have your own voice and your own writing style. Be satisfied, but never to the point that it stops you from wanting to improve yourself.
Read different genres from your own genre while you’re writing your story, otherwise you may start comparing and think, as above, that your story will never be as good as the one you’re reading at the time. And when you’re really stuck for inspiration, read some of the great poets. In Shakespeare’s poem, Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun, he tells us that death can come at any age and to not worry about the circumstances you’re living, that we will all eventually be dust. From his words, I take his imagined advice, if I were stuck or had writer’s block – to not waste time – just get on and write it.
Keep writing until the story is finished. Until you have run out of everything you wish to say. And then go back to the beginning and write it all again. Get to know your story intimately and if what you’re reading is boring you, don’t skip over it; cut it out, because if it’s boring you, the chances are it will bore others too.
Be prepared to edit and let go of unnecessary sentences, paragraphs and even chapters. The story you want to tell deserves to be uncluttered and free.
Research everything you write about, even if you know it backwards. Challenge what you know against the odds of you being wrong about something. The chances are much of the stuff you have researched will end up being cut from your story, but in the telling of your story, the knowledge and evidence you gained about a subject and then writing about it, only to then delete it, will have left an indelible mark. But that indelible mark is the confidence that you initially needed to know that you can write about it. That confidence now only need be in your own head and not padding out your story.
Thank you so so much Liz for some really inspiring top tips! Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour and find out more about Liz, her writing and loads of great reviews for Don't Wake Up!
And, so, what did I think of the book?!
I love the cover for this book. It's very like a lot of covers for thrillers at the moment, but it catches my eye and intrigues me. I also think the title is very compelling so I was really keen to read this one and find out more!
It's a great premise for a book - the opening is very clever and it takes a while for the reader and the protagonist to work out what is going on. There's something familiar about the scene yet something very wrong. Very, very wrong.
"Gut wrenching fear gripped, and her breathing turned ragged as she fought the panic."
I liked the fact that Alex was a Doctor. Lawler uses Alex's medical knowledge to reveal more clues and build more tension. Alex's understanding of what is happening to her, when she wakes up strapped to an operating table with someone who is definitely not part of the hospital staff, is enhanced by her academic and professional background. From here on in, the reader is privy to meticulous detail regarding medicine, hospital, protocol and physical injuries.
But what's also very clever is that now Alex is not the Doctor, she is the patient - well, the victim.
"This was a private club where only the professionals were allowed - not the victims."
Because of this, she can access the medical conversations around her, which initially is reassuring and empowering as Alex is more informed about what is happening to her. But, as she is now on the other side of the fence - or bed - as it were, interestingly it actually makes her more vulnerable. She is aware of what she is being told and what she is not being told. She interprets the looks around her, she understands the tone of voices used. She knows she is shut out and that other conclusions are being drawn about her. She feel powerless. I think this also increases the tension because the reader has not known Alex long enough to decide whether we can trust her and whether or not she is reliable.
Alex's struggle to work out what has happened to her begins straight away. Lawler has paced the story well. She structures the time between Alex's attack and the next event, which reignites Alex's belief that there is an exceptionally dangerous person at large, really effectively. I also enjoyed the constant internal struggle of Alex. Lawler's exploration of the effect of the "unknown" is really gripping.
"She wished she had lost her mind. She wished it was a breakdown because then there would be some chance of piecing herself back together again...."
So what are you waiting for? Liz has given us her top tips and now you can read Don't Wake Up and enjoy a great example of how to write well in this genre.
And if the cover has done it for you, or the title or the blurb, then here are a few more quotes so you don't just have to take my word for it!!
So compulsive you can't stop reading.
So chilling you won't stop talking about it.
A pitch-black and devastatingly original psychological thriller.
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