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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > May 2017 > Make it Real

Make it Real

How do you immerse readers in your fiction? Psychological drama author Suellen Dainty shows how she gets under readers’ skin in her new novel The Housekeeper

This business of novel writing is full of pitfalls and problems and the solutions offered are many. Some make more sense than others.

The only one that ever made sense to me came from the acclaimed writer, Richard Kerridge, who was one of my teachers at Bath Spa University. He called it embodiment. We had to feel the dust on our characters’ feet, the sun on their head and the fear in their bellies. This was the solution to most of our writing problems; how to create atmosphere, how to avoid the cardinal sin of show not tell, and how to strike a balance between plot and character.

He did warn us that there was no simple template for this. A writer could dive straight in, and sink or swim in the first few pages, or proceed with caution. In The Housekeeper, I chose the latter route, with at least six or seven drafts, in my attempt to create an immersive atmosphere that would become gradually more malignant.

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About Writing Magazine

Want to make sure your readers are hooked from the start? In this month's Writing Magazine, learn how to grab your readers' attention and keep it all the way to the end. • Have you completed a first draft? We show you how to polish it to perfection. • Would your life make a good story? We show you how to transform your inspiring ideas into writing material. • Read how our star interview, Lisa McInerney, went from blogger to bestseller. • Find out about the latest writing opportunities and win £51,579 in writing prizes!

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