I was tagged to do this ‘My writing process’ blog chain by Isabella Connor sometime last year and by Miki Thornberg a few weeks ago. I felt I should really get a move on and post it before someone ELSE tags me (and I let them down too!). So, here goes.
What are you working on?
I’ve just started writing book 3 in my Email and Ice Cream series. The three books are loosely related through some of the characters. The latest one (which has no name yet ) is about straight-talking Olivia. She doesn’t believe in happy ever afters, but is quite open to the idea of marriage if the right handsome, dashing millionaire comes along. Until then, she’ll work hard, play hard and see what happens.
Walter lives in the flat upstairs from Olivia. He’s just found out his ex wife is taking his daughter to America, things have gone wrong at work and there’s a huge spider on the shower curtain and he really, really doesn’t do spiders. Volcanoes, sharks, boiling liquids, yes. Spiders, no thanks.
That’s as far as I’ve got. I have a vague outline. I’m going to write on and see what happens.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I try to write about serious issues with a humorous slant. None of the issues I’ve tackled in my more ‘serious’ books have been funny, but the interaction between the characters can be. I like to write a light book in between the serious ones, so that I can recover from the trauma of writing about bullying (Dr January) or dealing with bereavement (Please Release Me). The shorter books have the hero’s point of view in emails, which makes them fast paced and dialogue heavy. I like that.
I write books I want to read. I sometimes catch myself grinning to myself at jokes that come out in the writing (I don’t put jokes in, they arise from the characters themselves, if that makes any sense). If it makes me laugh, chances are it’ll make a reader laugh too. That doesn’t really answer the question of how my works differ from others of the same genre… er… can I say they’re different because of my scintillating writing style? No? Put it this way, if you like Buffy, Terry Pratchett and Big Bang Theory, you’ll probably find them funny. If you’re heavily into literary fiction and don’t like genre fiction, you probably won’t. If you like both, then “Frabjous Day, Calooh Cally!” as Lewis Carroll would say.
Why do you write what you do?
Why does anyone write? I enjoy it. I write funny books when I need cheering up. I write serious books when I need to work something out. If there is an issue that I’ve been thinking about, writing a book where characters need to deal with that issue is a great way to analyse and rationalise it. When I wrote Dr January, I was thinking about bullying in relationships (especially in Twlight). When I’d finished the first draft, I realised that I’d made the two main male characters very much like the two sides of Edward Cullen – one who was kind and loving and one who was controlling and scary.
How does your writing process work?
It starts with a mild panic and lots of mind maps. (I rarely look at these again once I’ve done them, but I like to keep them lying around in case I need them. It drives my husband mad). Once I’ve got an idea of how things are likely to work out, I write a list of scenes and move them around a bit until it all flows. Then I gather up a load of chocolate and start to write.
I have a day job and two small kids, so I write at night. I try and do one hour each night during the week (sometimes in the weekends too, if I can manage it). I also try and fit in about half an hour of writing in my lunch hour. Bit by bit, it all adds to the word count.
Once the first draft is done and edited, I send it to beta readers, who spot flaws and weak spots. I eat a lot of chocolate, reluctantly admit they have a point and get back to editing. When it finally feels right, I submit it. Then I have more chocolate to celebrate and think about joining a gym (I never ACTUALLY join a gym, but it’s the thought that counts, right?). After a week or so, it starts to get lonely in my head with just me in it, so I start work on the next book and the whole thing begins again.
I’m supposed to tag three other people now. Everyone I know in the UK seems to have been tagged, so I’m going to break the chain. I don’t know what happens when you break the chain. Something terrible, probably. So, if you don’t hear from me in a while, you’ll know why…