Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Hop

I’m a bit late to this party.  I was tagged by Christopher Mannino earlier this month to participate in a blog hop on the writing process.

Actually ‘blog hop’ is a bit of a misnomer for this one - it’s more a blog chain, as the three people you tag then have to take the same questions to their own blog.

Hence, here is my shout-out to Christopher – you can learn more about him on his blog and his website.

And here are my answers to the four questions.

1) What am I working on?

I’m working on a historical crime thriller that I am collaborating on with my husband.  It’s set in the 1960s, and is about a young woman who aspires to be a bass player, searching for her friend who’s disappeared whilst exploring the vibrant London music scene of the era.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love strong women, and am drawn to writing about independent-minded female characters.  My amateur sleuths always have something a little bit different about them.  My forthcoming release with MuseItUp, DEAD COOL, features a Canadian actress who lives in London and notices cultural differences here and there (while solving murders, of course).  In the current work in progress my heroine, Alex, comes to London because she longs to join a band and she is learning to play bass guitar, but it is set in 1967 and she encounters a lot of prejudice – there weren’t too many women bass players in those days.

I like satisfactory endings, but I’m not fond of ‘happy ever after’.  To me, an ending must resolve the plot satisfactorily and tie up all relevant loose ends, but things don’t always go the way my characters want them to, and sometimes they have to deal with the consequences of their actions or simply that life isn’t always fair.

3) Why do I write what I do?

My writing is often cathartic.  Sometimes the only way I can deal with unpleasant or negative feelings is to write about them.  Which is generally why my stories tend to be quite dark.  Happy feelings I don’t write about because I try to hold on to them.  It’s only the bad feelings I want to exorcise, by putting them into my writing.

4) How does my writing process work?

I tend to spend a lot of time on plotting before I start working on a novel.  I’ve learned the hard way that’s the best way for me to work – I’ve got too many half-finished novels languishing in drawers because I couldn’t figure out how they were going to end.

I will try and work out a rough outline of the plot first, and then I will take this and break it down further into a chapter-by-chapter outline before I start writing chapter 1.  This plan is not set in stone - as I start to write the first draft I will often find the characters will take me places I hadn’t thought about in the plot outline, but it means when I sit down to write, I’ve got a good idea about what happens next, and it makes it easier to get to the end of draft 1.  Once draft 1 is done, I go back over the novel and work on as many revisions as it takes before it’s done.  I’m a big believer of ‘fixing it in the rewrite’.  It’s OK for the early drafts to be rubbish.  There’s always room to sort out those plot holes or tighten up that dialogue in the next draft.

I have a day job, and a long commute into London to get to it, so finding time to write can often be a challenge.  I find my most productive sessions are done on my NetBook, in coffee shops, before work.  Sometimes I get up at 5:30am and take the early train in to London so I can get an hour of writing in before heading to the office.  I never considered myself a morning person, and I hate setting the alarm so early, but it works for me so I stick with it.

Here are my three tagged authors, who will be picking up the baton over the next couple of weeks.  Do go and check them out.
  1. Janie Franz (
  2. Suzanne de Montigny (
  3. Rosemary Morris (

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