A writer like you: TM Thorne
Meet TM Thorne, a writer, racing-mum and cake-baking enthusiast.
She is currently working on a scurrilous bonkbuster set in the backstabbing world of motorsport. Driven: Racing, Rivalry, Revenge is due to be released later this year.
You’ll feel inspired by her ability to use stress to fuel her writing, her character-centered approach to writing, and her perfect-for-busy-schedules writing routine.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
What has shaped you into the writer you are today?
Therapy! I’ve always loved writing and had been blogging for years, but I went through a really tough couple of years while my son was racing and turning those experiences into a fun, scandalous novel seemed like a really good way of dealing with the stress. It’s such a therapeutic way of dealing with difficult people and situations – just put them in the book and you can have enormous fun with them! It helped me to regain a healthy perspective on everything and I found I really enjoyed writing.
What have you learned about writing so far?
I’m sure different approaches work for different people, but I find that starting with your main characters works for me. You probably have an idea of the way you want your plot to go, but go back to basics and concentrate on your main characters. Do whatever works for you to bring them to life: brainstorming their characters or mindmapping on paper, draw sketches of them, imagine how they would react in different situations, write down phrases you think they would use, even set up Instagram accounts for them. All of these things really help to cement the characters in your mind.
Don’t forget to work out what their character flaws are – even the most loved heroes all need at least one flaw or there will be no character growth throughout the book. Once you have the flaw, you can work out the journey your character or characters will need to go on to overcome that flaw and succeed (or fail to overcome and stay limited by it). It’s not always the physical journey your characters go on that draws your audience in, it’s the emotional and mental journey.
Once you have your characters and their different character arcs you can start to knit that together as a story. I found that planning it out really worked for me. From my character arcs I worked out the events that would happen and mapped them out as chapters. Then I filled in notes for each chapter, and once you have that outline, you can just go through each chapter and write it up, which is so much easier than being faced with a blank page. There’s nothing more frightening than a blank sheet or screen!
I wrote a blog post on the writing process I used to get from basic idea to a rough draft if you’d like to know more you can read it at tmthorne.com/blog/.
What have you learned from your mistakes or failures along the way?
Don’t be frightened to put pen to paper. A blank sheet or screen can be really daunting, so just make yourself write. It doesn’t matter whether you end up completely re-writing, having a draft to start from is so much easier than having nothing. And never be embarrassed to write even if you think it’s going to be rubbish. Nobody has to see it but you, and even the best writers don’t write a masterpiece without a lot of re-writing and editing.
What strategies are you using to build an author platform?
At the moment I’m mostly on Instagram @tmthorneauthor – please go follow me! I’ve found there is a really supportive community of fellow writers out there who can help you when you’re stuck on something, help you make important decisions and generally pick you up when you feel down. I’ve also recently started a blog on my website which I’m hoping to use to build a mailing list and more of a readership audience.
Describe your typical writing process or routine.
I’ve tried various things but what works best for me is writing on my iPad. I have a Logitech keyboard case which means I can use it on my lap like a mini laptop and I can take it anywhere. I tend to write whenever I have an hour to myself, whether it’s going on the school run half an hour early so I can sit in the car and write, or taking an hour in a café, or even sitting on the sofa in the evening writing while everyone is watching TV (noise-cancelling headphones are a real sanity-saver in a busy household – I can’t recommend them enough!)
What books are you currently reading, or what are some of your favorite books?
I have a varied but probably really mainstream taste in books, which ranges from Agatha Christie (I particularly love the Poirot and Marple mysteries) to Jilly Cooper, Charlaine Harris and JK Rowling.
I also love a good history book (although not a Historical novel) and I’m fascinated by reading Jack the Ripper books. I think I must have a Victorian murder story waiting to be written somewhere.
Where can we connect with you?
Thank you, TM.
My FREE THE WRITER takeaway is that getting to know your characters and their flaws will help you overcome your terror of the blank page.
Let’s free the writer today by setting aside time to write (and pulling out the noise-cancelling headphones if necessary).