Wednesday 30 April 2014

My Writing Process

Thanks to Valerie-Anne Baglietto for tagging me to take part in this blog tour. Valerie-Anne writes contemporary fairy tales set in the Welsh hills. Once Upon a Winter was an Amazon bestseller, reaching #1 in both contemporary fantasy and fairy tales. You can read about Valerie-Anne's writing process over on the Novelistas blog.

The idea is that I'm supposed to answer some questions about my writing process, and then nominate three other writers to continue this on their own blogs.

So here goes:

What am I working on?

This question always makes me twitchy. I hate talking about what I'm working on. Am I worried someone will steal my plot? No. Writers have similar ideas but we all have our own style, so the results would be very different. Am I worried that if I talk about it, my story will turn into pixie dust and vanish? Heh heh. No. I have a memory like a sieve so I write everything down, one notebook per book. I write down my initial idea, expand it, do character sketches, invent backstories, write snatches of dialogue, strands of plot, all as they occur to me. Look, here's one of my actual notebooks. Are you impressed?

And are you impressed that I've written a whole paragraph without actually answering the question?

OK, if you really want to know what I'm working on right now, it's a novel similar in style to Nemesis, called Trust Me, I Lie. Detective Inspector Ben Taylor is the perfect police officer. Reliable, dependable - the poor man has no life outside his work. He thinks he likes it that way but unfortunately he's about to meet the heroine, who will turn his nice, comfortable life upside down. And I can't tell you any more than that, because it might vanish into ... er, pixie dust.

How do my stories differ from others in their genre?

I (whisper it) mix my genres. I like to write romance and suspense with a dollop of humour. My heroines are not looking for love, they tend to fall over it - right about the same time they fall over a dead body. I have a short attention span so my stories are fast-paced and I don't like too much description because (like Stephen King) I believe the reader should do some of the work. I have a 'thing' for big old houses (I blame my parents), so my books usually have one of those, along with a character who isn't quite who they seem to be. There will also be an old mystery and lots and lots of twists - because there's nothing worse than working out the end of a story, two chapters in from the beginning.

Big old house? Check!
Why do I write?

It keeps me sane.  Well, saner.

How does my writing process work?

If I knew that, I'd be able to write a whole lot faster.

I'll start with something I'm interested in: movies, archaeology, fairy stories (yes, that last one is a clue as to what I'm working on). Maybe I've read an article on an old wreck or watched a documentary about long-lost treasure. Or listened to some song lyrics (Prince's Raspberry Beret, if you want another clue). Yes, I know, this writing process is all very random. I start scribbling in my notebook and then I write an outline. The outline will be the plot in three paragraphs, a list of the main characters and what they want - and what's stopping them from getting it (usually each other). Then I write a long synopsis of about 30 pages, with a page for each chapter. The synopsis gradually gets longer and longer and, before long, it's the first draft of the book. Simple, eh?

I wish!

Now, here's the part where I tag another author to tell you about their writing process. I'm tagging one of my favourite authors, Lesley Cookman, who writes the brilliant Libby Serjeant crime series. You can read all about how she writes and what inspires her here.

Related Posts:

Where I Write (for Novelistas Ink)

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