Welcome one and all. It’s Easter Monday and so what better way to spend it than blog hopping? Thanks so much to my wonderful friend Siofra Alexander (apologies for having no accent on the i, Siofra but I am technically challenged) for asking me to participate. Siofra has a great blog which walks us through her amazing subconscious mind. She is a writer of fantastical fantasy which, if you read her dream blog, will not surprise you. Her imagination is immense and limitless. Check out Siofra’s blog here. In the meantime I’ll answer the three questions posed in the blog hop and you can hop back over here once I’m done.
So Question 1: WHAT ARE YOU WRITING?
Right now, too many blog posts! I decided to take part in the A to Z blog challenge which I didn’t think would take up too much of my time but, well it has. However, as regular visitors will know, the challenge is a walk through my WIP, my children’s novel ‘Prophecy of Innocence’, and actually the fact I have been blogging about it is helping me enormously to revise and sharpen up certain aspects of it.
So other than that I am trying to polish up Book 1 of Prophecy which, for those of you who don’t know and aren’t bored of me blogging about it yet, is a middle grade fantasy, adventure novel which sits (if I must compare) in between a Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia style. As it is a trilogy, and as I have never written anything ever before so am learning how to write along the way, it is taking a very long time. It took me fourteen months to finish the first draft of Book 1. I am now in the final revisions after spending another fourteen months on editing and after receiving some suggestions from a publishing editor and so have had to put Book 2 on hold for the time being. I have written seven chapters of the second book and hope to return to it very soon, once I’ve got Book 1 polished to the highest sheen I can possibly give it.
Question 2: WHY DO YOU WRITE WHAT YOU DO?
I find this quite difficult to answer as it was never a conscious decision to write a fantasy novel. It’s just I had a vague idea of something from when I was twelve and then two and a half years ago I wrote a very brief outline, sat down at the laptop and started writing the story. I’d been depressed and I saw it as a great route to escapism. From there I haven’t stopped. It has grown and evolved in directions I never thought it would and I have learned so much about writing in the process and am still learning. I guess the writing it as a children’s book is simply because I was a child when I conceived the original idea and that came from reading The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe which of course is fantasy adventure. Why do I keep writing it rather than anything else? One, I still like to escape into the world I’ve created. It keeps me sane to a certain degree. Also quite simply because it’s not finished and I don’t get much chance to write anything else! However there are a couple of short stories I’ve started which don’t fit into any particular genre and I do have a couple of ideas for novels. I think they would come into crime/mystery genre and speculative fiction but I don’t know. I just like a good story and if I can hone my skills enough one day those novels may be written. For now it’s all about Prophecy of Innocence.
Question 3: WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
If I was what I’d term a ‘proper’ writer I’d probably talk about my muse and drinking coffee, or some other caffeine based beverage, sitting up until 3am or rising at 5am just to get the damn ideas down on paper. I might talk of dashing out of the shower and running immediately to my laptop to write, lest the ideas fall out of my head. I may tell you about waking at 4am and scribbling frantically into a notebook when my characters talk to me in my sleep. I might talk about my mahogany writing desk overlooking the rolling English countryside – post it notes strewn across its surface with every conceivable idea or line written on.
But as you may have now guessed none of these happen and I do not have a process. Well maybe I do but not one I’d say is a conscious process.
Usually what happens is this. If I have time, I sit down and write. If I have a large amount of time I sit at my dining room table with my laptop and my notebook which holds all my random pieces of information about my WIP and I either write 4000 words or squeeze out a 1000, dependent on what has or has not come up to the surface that day or week. Sometimes I can have brilliant ideas floating around, developing about a certain aspect of my WIP which just come when I’m least expecting it, usually when I’m driving, cooking, showering, teeth cleaning, doing my hair etc…( I don’t know why but looking into a mirror seems to help my subconscious to surface.) In those cases I will jot a few notes in my notebook but I don’t have the luxury of just been able to go immediately and sit and write. I don’t do late nights and I don’t do early mornings through choice. I’m forced out of my bed at ungodly hours by a nearly-six-year-old chatterbox. Hence I do not write late into the night and I do not write early in the morning. I may find a spare hour or two in and afternoon between finishing work and the school run. I may find an hour or so in the evening once little one’s gone to bed. That is if I haven’t got school work to do as I am a ‘part time’ primary school teacher. (Part time in inverted commas because I don’t see 30 hours a week as part time.) I know people will then think: What about your endless school holidays? Well as I already mentioned, I have a six year old who either a) does require some looking after and attention or b) Have you ever tried writing a novel with a six year old talking your hind legs off? Try it. It’s not doable. I’ll lend you him for a day if you don’t have one of your own!
Occasionally, on a Saturday, I have a lovely long stretch of around 5 or 6 hours and this is when the serious business happens. Not the editing or re-writes, the proper writing. I got one recently and worked on Book 2 and managed 4000 words. This happens so rarely though and I wish it could be more. This is another reason it has taken me so long to write one novel. I just don’t have time. Then I started blogging and ended up sacrificing even more writing time, telling myself any writing is good practise.
When I do write it is usually evening, I’m sat on my light-coloured art-deco style shaped sofa, lap top on knees with a glass of wine close at hand, subdued lighting (usually because I haven’t been bothered to get up and turn on more lamps) and either music on or the TV playing to itself on a low volume. This is how a friend of mine on Twitter described how they imagined me writing and yes, he was spot on. (Minus the art deco style shaped sofa part – my detective friend had not deduced that part! )
So now I pass the hop on to Kate’s blog. Kate resides over in Minsk and she writes some beautiful poetry. I’d be fascinated to see if she answers these questions in verse, but I also thought it would be interesting to get into the writing mind of a poet after a novelist. You can find Kate’s blog here and look forward to checking out her answers next week. 🙂