Today I am posting as part of a writing process bog tour – my thanks to Kathryn Freeman for inviting me. Here’s a link to Kathryn’s blog. http://kathrynfreeman.co.uk/category/blog/ Kathryn writes for romantic Choc Lit, and her current hero is a racing driver. Must have involved a lot of very interesting research…
So, as part of the tour I have to post my answers to 4 questions about my writing and the way I write.
1. What am I working on? I’m currently working on my 3rd women’s fiction novel and a romance novel. Both these books have a theme of deception, and as always with my writing, they’re about self-esteem and personal growth as well as love. I’ve also just got a historical romance set in the First World War down from the attic to read through – I wrote it a long time ago, but with it being the anniversary of the start of WWI, it might be worth taking another look at. My initial glance tells me that my heroine is a bit of a wimp, so it needs some work!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? Hmm, tricky one – I’m tempted to say, “ask my readers”. But actually, the feedback I’ve had from several people about The Goddess Workshop and The Dare Club is that the subject matter/premises are quite original. People find this refreshing, but it does make the books harder to place, because people do like to pigeonhole books. STOP PRESS! I have written a short story – Emma’s Choice – aimed at readers who haven’t read The Dare Club yet, to give them a taste of the novel. Emma’s Choice is FREE from today, 10th Feb until Friday 14th Feb. OK, advert over!
3. Why do I write what I do? Well, I’m lucky enough to have been able to write in a wide range of genres since as well as women’s fiction/romance, I also write readers for people learning to speak English. These have included romances, but also fantasy, a thriller, horror, human interest, fact books… I do enjoy variety and challenge with my writing. But to relate the question to my women’s fiction novels, I’ve always been interested in groups of people who are thrown together and have to get along. This is what happens in both The Goddess Workshop and The Dare Club, and it’s something I’ve experienced myself through my teaching and by going on adventure holidays alone. At first there are tensions, but gradually the group bonds as it has a common aim. In my novels the aims are improved self-confidence and self-esteem. My books are about empowerment, and that’s something that is very important to me personally.
4. How does my writing process work? It depends. Sometimes I write a book very quickly. Other times life has forced me to leave something and I’ve returned to it years later. But generally once I have an idea – which is often inspired by one character that comes to life for me – I make notes until I feel ready to start. I need to know how a novel is going to end, and I need some touch stones – major events along the way. I also make sure I’m certain of the overall theme of the book. For example, in The Dare Club, which is about a group of newly-separated people challenging each other in an attempt to forget about their problems, the thing that drives the characters and the plot is that by the end they will all have learned that the most challenging – and most important – thing of all is to tell people how and what you feel. Keeping a theme in my mind makes a book hang together. Whenever I’ve written without a clear idea of a theme, I’ve usually got lost or had to do countless rewrites. I’m very disciplined about my writing. Sometimes I will start writing in my notebook early in the morning – as early as 5.30am on occasion. When I return from the school run, I type this up and then carry on writing on the computer. After I’ve written about a third of a novel, I feel able to plan the rest of the story in quite a lot of detail, and I do this by brainstorming all my ideas onto post-it notes then arranging them in order. I put this plan up on my wall behind the computer screen and tick scenes off when I’ve written them. Of course things do change sometimes. My characters don’t always agree with my plans!
The writing process blog tour continues next week with 2 people I have met via Twitter. Here’s a bit about them, and I hope you’ll read their posts.
Susan Buchanan lives in Central Scotland with her partner Tony and their baby daughter, Antonia. She is the author of three novels in the contemporary fiction and chicklit genres: Sign of the Times, The Dating Game and The Christmas Spirit. Her fourth novel, What If, is expected to be released summer 2014.
Karen Soutar is a writer by night, and a driving instructor by day, putting her Lady Jekyll and Mrs Hyde personality to good use. She has written stories all her life but started blogging in March 2013 and began publishing her fiction on her blog. Karen writes horror, fantasy and erotica flash fiction and short stories, and is working on her first novel. She is studying Creative Writing with the Open University, and has recently started to dabble in poetry. When not writing or driving, Karen is a devoted rock chick, and self-confessed crazy cat lady. She lives in a village in central Scotland with her husband and three cats.