Sunday, 20 February 2011

Write, write, write

Hi folks - the title sums up my week; write, write, write. I've managed to have an excellent week where the editing of my novel has filled every spare minute. My draft now has seven chapters that I would be proud to show to any agent - they may want to tweak a few details but I am finally happy with the beginning of my novel. I suppose on the back of that personal goal, my novel has started to feel 'real' - the end, though a long way off, does feel like a plausible day in the future - many times it has felt like a sheer fantasy.

At school, I had an interesting conversation with a year 9 pupil about how writers contemplate and create a story. I remember a time when I thought there was a secret method, that needed to be learnt and then a novel just happened. I have long since realised that each writer is so different; it really is an individual thing. No two writers are alike in their method or their sequence of writing - I tried to explain to the pupil that it was light bulb moment when I realised that how I was tackling my novel was fine - that was simply 'my way'. Every writer has to find their own method. The look of confusion upon her face made me laugh. Fingers crossed she'll have her own light bulb moment and release her own creativity.

My method: I started by creating a scrap book of characters - which included pictures snipped from the local newspaper of people who look similar to my characters, photographs of real houses near my location that I have housed my characters in. I have drawn tiny maps into my scrap book to show details that I may need to help the setting. I'm a visual person so anything that helps my creative processes gets photoed or sketched. At the back of the scrap book I have dedicated pages: one for beautiful words that I love and want to use; a research page for questions I have relating mainly to Law in the UK; a list of incidents that currently don't appear in the planning but which have popped into my head and could potentially be included - I will use these all one day maybe in another book. My scrap book is my working Bible regards this novel and has become the working blue print. 
Above my writing desk, I have a sheet of magic white board with a list of characters and their ages, so that a quick glance reminds me of family trees and blood connections. Close to hand, I have a book of baby names from which I've selected some characters forename based on the original meanings - though the majority of my names come from my own family tree - the inclusion is a personal element meant for no one but me. I have a tiny cork pin board on which I pin the details of each chapter into a logical order - though I tend to chop and change the order depending upon unexpected twists that I didn't realise would occur when writing.
My writing template has wide margins so that it looks like a page of a book when typing - this helps me to visualise the finished page - plus gives me a rough idea of pages as I am working. I'll revert back to a standard margin size when sending to an agent. The only other thing that I do is book writing time in my head - sounds daft but if I don't allot specific time I'll find other tasks in my life take over the spare time I have.

And finally, I got around to watching the second episode of 'Faulks on fiction' and once again went AWOL for the entire hour - I must admit I don't totally agree with this week's comments about 'lovers' but it got the old grey matter working on my opposing argument. This week's episode is focusing on 'the snob' so I look forward to debating that topic with the flat screen. I noticed that BBC2 has another book programme beginning on Tuesday, 22nd Feb 'My life in books' is to focus on personalities and their individual selection. So, along with my beloved 'The Book Show' on Sky Arts, I feel thoroughly spolit.

Have a good week, I'm heading back to my writing desk for an extra hour. Enjoy!

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