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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 141 Real Calm > The first cut is the deepest

The first cut is the deepest

Award-winning novelist, Lucy Atkins, says this month’s task is to let that initial draft flow freely, but be ready to hack it back when the time comes


How to write a novel

When I wrote my debut novel, I spent at least nine months finessing the first three chapters. I obsessed over every word and description until they were as brilliant as I could possibly make them. When I finished the book, I sent it to a literary agent. She replied quickly, saying she wanted to take me on, but the novel needed a bit of work. Her main suggestion? ‘Lose the opening three chapters; you don’t need them.’

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Psychologies June 2017 - Real Calm