The marvellous Salena Godden invited me to join the Writing Process Blog Tour, answering the questions below before nominating other writers I admire to continue the tour… Watch out for Springfield Road AND Fishing in the Aftermath – Salena’s memoir and poetry collection, both out this year.
- What am I working on?
As always I’m juggling a few projects, not sure if this helps my process or hinders, but it’s how I work. So, I’m writing my next novel, So the Doves, meddling with two plays I’ve drafted and reworking The Mesmerist’s Daughter for re-release with Neon Press. There’s an academic essay sitting on my desk too and some poems… I have a very messy brain. Plus I’m leading workshops, performing and hoping to perform some more. With a bit of luck, So the Doves will be finished by December and I can get stuck into another novel that’s been hanging around in my head for a while, Salt and Ashes.
- How does my work differ from others in its genre?
That is a crazy question. I don’t work to a specific genre or think in those terms. I write about what interests me, in a way that I hope engages with the characters and their world. I try to write about people that aren’t usually the focus of literature, but I’m not alone in doing that. Readers are usually the best judges of what is unique to a writer’s style. All I can do is write the way I write… If I tried for originality, I’m afraid it would be too self-conscious and mannered, which is definitely NOT what I want.
- Why do I write what I do?
To understand, to look deeper and more clearly. All writing is political – consciously or not. I grew up in a working class family, on a council estate – a lot of my fiction addresses issues that stem from that, even covertly. I try to write about characters to reveal their complexity, their ‘dependent origination’, if you like, so as not to reduce them to stereotypes – whether that’s about gender (in WOUNDING) or poverty and education, (in So the Doves). I know it’s a cliché, but I feel that I don’t have a lot of choice… Like most writers I have my obsessions, my ‘thing’ that I’m working through. I don’t want to write to provide answers however, I write to begin the questions.
4. How does my writing process work?
I write around 2000 words a day, Monday to Friday unless I have a deadline. When I sit down to write it comes fast, but I can sit on an idea for ages, making notes, writing fragments, planning, creating character profiles – I fester in it for a while and then it begins. Short stories I tend to write in one sitting, and then edit over the next couple of days. I was incredibly lucky to work with an amazing editor for WOUNDING, that was a fantastic experience, having someone you trust read what you’re doing and giving you honest, skilled feedback. I have my routines – but nothing superstitious – I walk the dog, run, do yoga, meditate – all that stuff and then sit down at my desk and get on with it.
Right! Back to it… Thank you for reading this far, let me know how you go about your creative process. It’s now my pleasure to hand over the Blog Tour to one of my favourite writers, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, her novel, HOME, published by Red Button Booksis a brilliant, unsettling story and I highly recommend it.
Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone’s first novel, Home, is published by Red Button Publishing. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, her second novel, a series of picture books for the under fives, and a blog tracking her attempts to read a novel a week for a year. Rebekah also teaches creative writing for City University.
It’s exciting to read about your plans and processes. As ever, your blog is inspiring. I’m finding the political aspects of writing and reading confounding at the moment and I keep hoping the clouds will part and allow a ray of clarity! I look forward to responding to the challenge next week.