Thank you to my teacake buddy and fellow writer, Wendy Clarke, for inviting me to be one of the links in her writing blog chain. As all I have to do is answer some questions about my writing I was happy to take part - since eyes glaze over when I mention writing to my family ...
1) What am I working on?
Like Wendy I'm having some writing downtime until 6 January to try and give the brain a rest. Am reading lots and already several new ideas have surfaced, which is the main reason for the downtime - to allow new ideas to emerge. Projects for the new year include: continuing the WIP novel, converting a short story to a one act play, new short stories, a new radio play and a smattering of non-fiction articles. I plan to continue with the objective of writing one new story a month.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, firstly I write across numerous genres and am always trying out new areas. New for 2014 will be screenwriting. I've been told that my writing is often 'funny, but with bite' and I think I look at topics from unusual angles (quirky?). I do aim to write more upbeat pieces, hopefully with positive and life affirming themes - simply because I can't bear to write 'doom, gloom and misery' anymore, it's too depressing! Fiction can be fun and still convey a serious, but upbeat message.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Hmm, to be honest I have no idea. I'm not entirely sure where some of the ideas come from, but once they start assembling out of the mist I usually know what I want to achieve. I do like to write across lots of genres, because I want to master a whole range of techniques and I love experimenting. I would hate to be pigeon-holed as a one type of writer. In 2013 I started to write drama and now realise that many of my short stories could work as either stage or radio plays. When I write I see everything as scenes in my head, and I love writing dialogue. So working more on drama is something I'm really keen to develop.
4) How does my writing process work?
I'm a bit superstitious about answering this, as I'm terrified the writing (or more realistically the ideas) will suddenly dry up and talking about the process will scare it off even quicker!
I keep a notebook and jot down ideas, titles, dialogue. Something will start to niggle me and then I'll plot it out completely before I start to write. Swimming, walking and running or washing-up and gardening (not all at once) are great activities to help the plotting process. I can't sit down and write from scratch. I also don't subscribe to the school of write any old rubbish and edit it later. If I did that I would just end up with rubbish. My first drafts tend to be scarily clean. I usually edit and then pass onto my tame proofreader (Handsome Hubby), who is terrific at grammar, punctuation and fact checking. I then print out and read through on paper, plus read aloud. Edit if necessary and that's it. Through my MA workshops I'm learning to become a more thorough editor and realising this does lift the quality of my writing.
Hope the above have been interesting.
The writing baton now passes to the following talented writers and bloggers - please pop over to their blogs on 6 JANUARY to read their posts.
Simon Whaley writes British travel features, walking routes and humorous pieces, for UK and USA publications, and his short stories have been published in the UK, Ireland and Australia. He's the author of 11 non-fiction books and his twelfth (Photography for Writers) is published in March 2014.
Lynne Hackles self-confessed butterfly writer who successfully writes across many genres. Columnist on Writing Magazine and creative writing tutor.
Sally Jenkins specialises in shorter length fiction and the odd article. Two of her story collections have been published on Kindle and she is currently kicking her 2013 NaNoWriMo script into shape.