Writing about your writing. That’s only for published authors isn’t it? Apparently not my friends, apparently not…
Wyl Menmuir invited me to join in on this #mywritingprocess blog tour. He is a freelance writer, editor and literacy consultant and is juggling writing his first novel with the demands of family life, freelancing and the call of the sea. He blogs at nowwriteaboutit.co.uk. When Wyl asked me if I was up for it I thought it might be a good opportunity to analyse my process, join in and read other peoples processes and… I also like to procrastinate – so you know, perfect!
1) What am I working on?
I am currently writing my second novel. The first one was terrible… truly. It was a tribute to every cliché in the book, and some new ones, that hadn’t been invented for very good reason. It was rubbish. That said, it was important to get out of the way I think, let me learn and get into a stride. And I have lots of lovely rejection letters that I can one day paste to a wall, in a dedicated writing room, that I’ll be invited to show off in a future blog post about my rejections. One day. Maybe.
Glitter Red Shoes and Sky Blue Gingham is the novel I am working on now and it has reached the dizzy heights of its third draft. I anticipate another two before it might be ready to take its rightful place in the slush pile of my chosen agents, and I hope that this one might be closer to the mark. I’ve been fortunate to get some feedback on it from The Literary Consultancy via a bursary through Literature Works. This was a game changing moment in the process and I recommend anyone writing, to look into their local writer’s agency for support. That said, if this one isn’t good enough; I’ll have another go. I’m nothing if not stubborn and determined.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know that it does differ particularly, but I hope it includes some of the best parts of the genre; love, friendship, story and for me – most importantly – a truth that makes me fall in love. Women’s fiction, chicklit, romance – there are so many genres and sub-genres. Ultimately, I feel that I want to write contemporary stories with an honesty that – however fictional it might be – readers can relate to it, because they relate to the characters, and the circumstances they find themselves in.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Because I love to read it, because I love a story, because I love love; not the fluffy, heart pounding, loin girding stuff (tho’ who doesn’t love that a bit!) but the enduring, real, gritty, difficult and rewarding love that happens in real life, all around us, all of the time. I’ve written other stuff, but “Women’s fiction” seems to be where I feel most challenged and inspired. And also stressed and neurotic… that’s a good thing isn’t it… isn’t it!? Ultimately, I want to write a really good book and will keep on doing it until I do. If and/or when that happens, I’d like the next one to be better and so on and so on and so on.
4) How does your writing process work?
I am annoyingly structured in the planning of my time, mainly because if I were to allow myself anything different, I’d get nothing done. I am a lazy person trapped in a stubborn person’s body. I have a very strict routine that works for me; I drop the kids at school, I write from 9.30am – 1.30pm, I swim, I collect the kids, I do mum stuff until they go to bed and then I work for another hour in the evening. I have to take this seriously so that others will take me seriously… and I’m also slightly obsessive.
Sadly my obsessiveness doesn’t translate to my story planning. In terms of that, I confess it’s a side I don’t do so well. I may need to revisit my approach, given that I am on my third draft and only just making sense of the story. Historically, I have come up with a character, a germ of an idea and then, I get writing. It’s thrilling, seat of your pants stuff, but also grossly inefficient. For me at least. To my shame, I have built a career on winging it and I suspect writing won’t be any different but I would love to be one of those people who can embrace a yellow sticky and a chapter synopsis. Maybe one day. Until then, I’ll launch head first into a new project whilst complaining about it on twitter. What’s not to love about that!?
Oooh, that was strangely cathartic. Thanks Wyl! So, who’s up next? A woman I met at an awards do when we were both nominated for a new talent award. (I know. Get us!) She came runner up and has gone on to secure an agent, a regular column and I believe her book is being sent out to publishers as I type; proper exciting stuff. With no further ado therefore, I introduce to you; Bella Osborne.
Bella likes to juggle her writing with holding down a proper job, being a mum, doing a writing course and trying to finish her second novel. Oh and also doing a fortnightly column for Novel Kicks. She lives in the Midlands with her ever patient husband and daughter and a deaf geriatric cat with an attitude problem and Ninja tendencies. Funnily enough her – she says – her blog doesn’t get updated as often as it should.