There's a blog tour occuring in the world of writers just now, and today it's my turn to tell you a bit more about my writing process (so my natural phenomenon post will need to wait a bit...)
I was handed the 'blog tour baton' by my writer friend, Rebecca, who blogged about her own creative process last Monday here at her lovely new website The Magpie Diaries, which is overflowing with creative thoughts and inspirations.
So here's the answers to the questions I was set, offering some insight into my writing world:
What am I working on?
The project I want to devote most of my time to is my second young adult novel, but I think I've tried to overcomplicate the plot in parts, so this really needs to be stripped back a bit before I get it back on track. Lately I've been writing a lot of short stories, flash fiction and have recently returned to some poetry. I like the fact I can experiment with my style in shorter pieces and I feel it's a way of trying to teach myself how to improve on the flaws of my longer pieces (such as learning to add in a bit more narrative drive and description). I've also started work on a novellla, but my heart is definitely pulling me back to that young adult novel...
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
For my young adult novels I'd like to think the mystery elements are tackled in a fairly original way, and I like to have a subtle danger and doubt tied up in the main romances as I think that makes it a bit more interesting. A strong female protagonist is important to me, so the challenge is to balance that strength with the vulnerability I think every seventeen year old girl feels.
Why do I write what I do?
My novel length ideas and writing style developed naturally into a young adult focus - I don't think it was something I necessarily consciously woke up and decided to do, although the fact I love reading YA books probably was a big influence! The idea for my first YA novel had brewing for a while and then one day my main character started to fully form in my head and she started to piece it all together for me. I really like writing for this age group as I think there's scope to tackle interesting issues.
I love the freedom of writing shorter pieces and these are for a different audience. I think I sometimes tap into a more experimental part of my creative brain when I tackle the short stuff -probably because it feels safer taking a risk on a piece you're not investing quite so much time in.
How does my writing process work?
With my short stories a glimmer of an idea/situation can pop into my head and I'll just sit down and start writing and see what happens. This can be the way a novel starts too, but at some point I have to try and structure a bit more of a plan. It does amaze me how much your subconscious can work things out before you do. I'm a fast typer which means I like to type everything, though I have lots of notes/ideas/extracts jotted down in various notebooks across my flat. Often if I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea I'll type it quickly in my phone.
Working full time in quite a demanding job can make it hard to maintain proper focus on my writing projects. At the beginning of March I dropped a Monday at work for 12 weeks and the difference this has made already has been great. I'm treating my Mondays like a normal work day - getting up early but instead of rushing for my train, I switch on my computer and sit down and write. Even if I'm not entirely sure I have something I want to write about I force myself to let some words flow. It's been a big lesson in not waiting around for that elusive 'Muse' to strike, something which I have definitely been guilty of in the past.
And so now I pass the 'blog baton' on to two writer friends, Catherine and Charlotte, who will be blogging about their writing process on Monday 7th April. Here's a bit about them with a link to their sites so be sure to check them out next week!
I met Charlotte Bray a few years ago at the SAW writing conference. Here's a taster of what she likes to write about:
For as long as I can remember I've enjoyed writing stories. During my early years most featured my pet cat.
In adult years, alongside my job as grant writer for charity, I've mainly focused on crime thriller novels especially involving interesting locations.
The blog started as an excuse to tick off some of the activities I've wanted to do for years.
I've been following Catherine Noble's postings for a while now and enjoyed reading her story Wee Hammy in the Puffin Review (we appeared in the same issue)
Here's a bit about Catherine:
Catherine Noble is a fiction writer from Glasgow, Scotland. Shortlisted for the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award 2012/13, she is currently working on her first novel. She is also a proud member of the Johnstone Writers Group. Catherine's website: www.catherinenoble.com