Monday, 12 May 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I'm so excited to be taking part in the My Writing Process blog tour this week! Many writers and authors have been taking part, week after week, explaining their work and inspiration - last week was fellow parent/writer Dana at Celiac Kiddo, who blogs about family, writing and gluten-free living  - read her post here.

What am I working on?

Right now I'm trying very hard to focus all my attention on a novel that I began earlier this year. It's difficult as I'm a bit of a writing grasshopper - I know I prefer writing long fiction, but am dabbling in other things too. I just submitted an article to a non-paying market, which has boosted my confidence and added to my portfolio, but now that is done I'm back 'on task'. 

The novel I'm working on is contemporary women's fiction, and I'm rolling in Chapter Four of the first draft, happy as a pig in muck. I've not set myself a real deadline, but I hope the first draft will be complete before school's summer holiday. I find a lot of my writing habits revolve by necessity around the school year and how hard it is to write while refereeing four children...

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

 I haven't set out to write something unique; I've just written about things that inspire and fascinate me. My work-in-progress (working title: The Web - I'm not great with titles) is about an ordinary life that derails, and focuses on family relationships and how they crumble or strengthen under pressure.

I have completed two previous novels which will probably never see the light of day, but there are certain recurring ideas in the three stories. I have used my local area - the edge of the Peak Park in all its beauty, diversity and wildness - as a setting, and children, family and motherhood feature prominently.

However, the story I'm brewing ready for next time is likely to take me exploring the world and is as child-free as an 18-30 holiday, so perhaps it's too soon to generalise. 

Why do I write what I do?

If an idea has grabbed my attention, and tugged at the corners of my mind for long enough, I can't ignore it anymore and the only way to shut it up is to write it down.

I think underneath the cynical varnish I must be a romantic. I like to believe that true love exists, that there is beauty in family and that there is always hope. So my novels explore a variety of issues, but I want to enjoy writing, and I like the escapism of being lost in another world (where, even if things look bleak, I can believe in a happy ending) and I hope readers will enjoy the escapism too.

How does my writing process work?

After (disastrously) flying by the seat of my pants twice now, which created unnecessary amounts of redrafting, I've planned meticulously this time. I'm also using Scrivener for the first time. Although Scrivener means that I have to stop sometimes to find out how to do what I want to do, on the whole the planning and the program are making it much easier to dip in and out in the slivers of time that I whittle off my day. 

After an idea has festered for a reasonable amount of time, and can no longer be ignored, I begin to think about the characters, and spend a long time trying to make them memorable.

Sometimes I get a very clear visual - almost cinematic - scene that comes to me whole. I was once walking home late at night from a boring committee meeting when I 'saw' another woman doing the same. The main difference is, the woman in my mind was being followed, and I knew immediately who by and what they wanted - although it was a couple of years later before I knew what motivated the mugger. Even then my main character was very different to me. I would probably scream and run if someone attacked me, but she is a bit of a wild-cat.

I write from start to finish, a little at a time, and this time I'm trying to do a little gentle editing as I go along, to minimise the daunting mountain of editing at the end. I might do a swift initial proof-read straight away, but this is more self-congratulatory re-reading of the manuscript than useful, and then comes rewriting, cutting, editing...and then proof-reading again. I usually sit and type on the sofa with the laptop warming my legs.

There's usually a lot of cutting to be done, as I battle verbosity non-stop...I hope I haven't been too wordy for you today. Now you know the way,pop in again soon - I always appreciate moral support! 

Next week the blog tour is stopping at the blogs of these lovely writers:

Karla is a freelance writer who writes content for websites whilst eating far too many biscuits. She lives in the Suffolk countryside & works from home, although she has her desk facing away from the window otherwise she'd spend all day looking at cows. Karla is a master procrastinator & spends too much time on Pinterest and Bloglovin' when she really should be writing. Check out her website too - I'm intrigued by the meaning of 'koalascribble'!

Ana Salote is a children's writer and dramatist. Her latest fantasy novel, Oy Yew, was longlisted for the Times/Chicken House Award. She is working with indie press, Mother's Milk, on the rest of the trilogy. She lives near Avalon and is inspired by 'all things counter, original, spare, strange'. 

C.C. Riley is a writer daylighting as an English teacher. Married to the man of her dreams with two obnoxious dogs, she spends most of her time reading, writing, and remodeling her home. 


  1. Thanks so much for participating, Abigail! I really enjoyed hearing about your process and a bit about your novel in progress. I'm very intrigued by Scrivener and planning/outlining in general as I'm more of a "pantser" which as you've said has wasted some of my very precious (re limited) time.

    Looking forward to reading the other bloggers' posts next week!

  2. Thanks for passing this over to me - I'm looking forward to taking part!

  3. So I loved reading this! I'm so glad to know that all writers struggle in the same way, and that eventually, that struggle pays off! Happy writing!

  4. Thank you for the comments! This week has been a difficult one with a poorly child and beginning to write reports, so I'm sorry it's taken me a while to get round to replying. I've really enjoyed reading about other people's writing and how they go about it, so huge thanks to all involved!