Writing a Christmas Novel: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan

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Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

Christmas novels are back on the bookshelves of shops and libraries and some people love nothing better than a holiday-themed book to get them into the festive spirit.

‘Putting together a great Christmas-themed tale is like decorating the tree for the year. It’s necessary to really think about each element you’ll be hanging on the tree, and how they’re going to fit when you look at the whole thing.’ Alex J. Coyne

Is now the right time to sit down and write a festive story? What are the dos and don’ts for writing your Christmas-themed novel? Here, I have put together some articles, YouTube videos, and a podcast.

  1. https://www.sophiepembroke.com/writing-a-christmas-romance/

A seasonal story can anchor a story in a way that makes it more accessible to the reader. Sophie outlines a step-by-step guide advising on setting, characters, action, conflict, and senses. She provides exercises to try, with each step encouraging you to always take into consideration the theme.

  1. https://selfpublishingadvice.org/writing-why-every-author-should-write-a-christmas-book-and-a-book-for-all-seasons/

Self-publishing Advice discusses how the writer should never underestimate the power of holiday sales. The demand for buying a book in print at Christmas time is huge, and Christmas-themed stories are perfect for both getting into the festive spirit and buying as presents.

  1. https://www.standoutbooks.com/holiday-themed-book/

With Christmas-themed stories, the line between familiar and cliched is narrow, so the writer needs to pre-empt the cliché, anticipate the unexpected, question the readers’ assumptions, and make sure you do your research.

  1. https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-fiction/3-tips-for-writing-a-holiday-romance-novel

In this article, Jenny Bayliss, author of A Season for Second Chances, offers 3 tips for writing a holiday romance novel including making your holiday a character; keeping it real but obeying the rules; know your stuff – read other Christmas-themed books and find out for yourself what works.

  1. http://samanthatonge.co.uk/news-and-blog/carina-author-tips-for-writing-christmas-novels/

This is a short and simple piece with advice from writers of Christmas novels.

  1. https://jowritesstuff.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/book-recipes-how-to-write-a-christmas-romance/

This is a bit of fun for the writer to have a go at. Jo looks at what makes a Christmas story. She gives you a list of ingredients and a method to try.

  1. https://www.inkdroplit.com/blog/2019/12/1/what-a-christmas-carol-can-teach-us-about-how-to-write-a-book

This article looks at various parts of A Christmas Carol and shows us how it works so well and what to bear in mind when writing your own Christmas story.

  1. https://minds-in-bloom.com/20-christmas-writing-prompts/

These Christmas prompts, although aimed at younger writers, could be used to get into the mindset of a child character in your story.

  1. http://www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com/christmas-creative-writing-ideas.html

Here are ten Christmas creative writing ideas for you to try.



In this podcast, Gabriela Pereira interviews Debbie Macomber who writes women’s fiction. Thirteen of her novels have reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and five of her Christmas novels have been hit movies on the Hallmark Channel. They discuss how our subconscious comes out in our writing and directs the topics we explore; the balance between writing light Christmas stories and still providing substance.


A light-hearted, fast-paced look at the story elements of well-known Classic Christmas movies.

Lisa London talks about the 4 essential ingredients to writing a holiday-themed book. She explains that the writer needs to think about what is so special about Christmas, what emotions we associate with it, and how your characters feel about the season.

Whatever time of year you decide to sit down and write your Christmas story, I am sure that brainstorming a few ideas during the festive season is a good idea. Take in the decorations, the hustle and bustle of people, and the familiar sounds and smells of Christmas, and jot down whatever comes to mind. I hope this week’s column has been helpful. Please get in touch if there is any topic you would like me to cover.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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