Sunday 27 April 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

I've been nominated by Scott Bury for the 'My Writing Process' Blog tour - thank you, Scott!  Here is his post:

I was also asked by N E David (thank you again, N, and for giving me a different slant on it!) - so here is his blog, too!

I have to answer four questions about what, why and how I write, then link to the bloggers that tagged me, and tag two or three more authors in turn. 

Okaaaay - here are the questions and my answers....

1.  What am I working on now?

I'm currently working on a novella, a light 'beach read' type of thing; it's about the same sort of concept as my novel The Other Side, ie, parallel lives, what might have happened if we'd turned a different corner/made a different decision, etc - all those 'but what if I'd....' questions!  Very Sliding Doors - it's a subject that fascinates me.  

The very act of just missing a tube train gave Gwyneth Paltrow not only a different life, but a different hairdo!

I needed to write something a bit lighter - and shorter - after finishing my latest novel, Kings and Queens, which was something of a marathon!  I worked on it every day all through the winter - even Christmas Day!  I think the new one is going to be called Round and Round  

2.  How does my work differ from others in its genre?

That's a hard one, as my novels don't really fit into one genre - as is agreed by several regular readers.  One review said that I have 'a genre all of my own'!  I suppose they're more 'real life' than some of the romantic suspense or contemporary women's fiction genre, and maybe more humorous, sometimes, too.  And not necessarily just for women.  It's so hard to analyse your own work, I think.

More real than most romantic suspense?  It's impossible for me to say!

3.  Why do I write what I do?

For this one I really can't think of an answer apart from 'I don't know'.  Although I take great care with unpredictable plot twists (I love working out the red herrings!), my biggest interest is in the dynamics of the relationships - and not just the love ones.  I find people's emotional reactions and issues fascinating, so I suppose that interest sparks off my weird non-genre of choice!  If a story arrives in my mind to such an extent that I want to develop it, then away I go, but those ideas are completely random - I mean, I don't think, ooh, I'll write a heartwarming tale to catch the Christmas market, or anything like that - maybe I should, I'd probably sell a shedload more books!  When I got the idea for Kings and Queens, I was sitting in bed watching The Tudors.  I suddenly thought, isn't this a brilliant story?  I wonder if I could translate all that intrigue and drama into the present day?  And thus, you have it - the story of property developer Harry Lanchester, and his six wives (well, five in mine!).

Showing the intriguing Annette Hever, and her historical counterpart, Anne Boleyn!

4.  How does my writing process work?

It's the same for each book.  I get an idea, and mull it around in my head; sometimes I discuss it with my sister and my husband.  At some point, I start writing a few scribbled notes.  When I've decided what the actual story is, I write a very basic chapter plan - I never do this until I've decided on the ending, because I think that every sentence in a novel should be relevant to the plot, and all threads should move towards the conclusion, even if that conclusion has several aspects. However convoluted those threads might be, however seemingly insignificant they seem when first being read, each element in each novel I write is a part of the whole.  I don't like books that have superfluous detail about subjects irrelevant to the plot, particularly where the writer has wandered off into self-indulgence; I like to make every sentence count.  

I do any necessary research before starting to write, too - which meant about two months' reading for Kings and Queens.  My books are very 'character driven', so I spend a long time working out ways by which my characters' actions will be feasible; I am so wary of making events occur just for the sake of moving the plot forward, or characters suddenly changing personality half way through. I write little timeline charts as I go along to help with continuity.  

Courtesy of author and writing coach Rayne Hall

Then I write 'Chapter One', and the process begins once more.  First draft, nice spaces between each subsequent ones so that I can see it with fresh eyes ... and, yes, I always get that that 'this is a load of crap' bit around 6k words....

I hope that was of some interest to some people!  I am tagging:

JD Hughes

Cynthia Harrison 

Georgia Rose



  1. Very interesting, TT, particularly so to those of us who know where a semicolon goes but couldn't begin to understand how one undertakes writing a novel. I loved your book 'The Other Side', and I do look forward to the next one, as I really enjoy the 'what if I'd ....?' type of stories, I think a lot of people are fascinated by that theme. I feel that true writers write what they feel they must, rather than what they think will sell, like all those ghastly ersatz '50 Shades' books that flooded the market a while ago, and don't get me started on the plethora of 'cupcake' books!

    1. Indeed! I hope the Novello (Him Indoors says I must stop calling it that in case people think I think it is really called a Novello) will be out in July. Yes - couldn't resist going with that theme again, and also, to be truthful, thought I'd better get in sharpish, as I've seen a few books doing it since Kate Atkinson's Life After Life - but I did it first!!! (stamp of foot) (okay, Kate A did it hugely better!!!!) - but I feel it might become a 'bandwagon', like the 1001 cupcake cafe books!!!!

  2. Ha, I haven't read 'The Other Side Yet', so need to do that…after Kings and Queens. Yes! So much to read! Fiction is so different from non, and I've only written two novels so I'm quite a novice at developing fictional plots, but I think my process is quite similar to yours. And yes, you are your own genre! Great post TT, my fave race leader in the fiction stakes!

  3. PS, what are cupcake books???

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Right! Well, each to his own…probably a bit too sweet and gooey for me, but if it sells, then good for the authors!! More power to them. Wish my DIY adventures were half as appealing…now there's a thought… DIY romances?

    3. Believe me, your plumbing and woodworking tales are a lot more interesting and of more literary merit than any of the cupcake books I've looked at.....! Yes, what the hell, you could have a woman living on a historic barge on her own, who comes a cropper with her condensation, and has to call in the hunky but rather offish hunk on the next boat, so she calls him in for tea and cupcakes, and then he takes the micky out of her for wearing killer heels on board barge, and she falls into the canal and is rescued by his mate, and then the first guy gets jealous - see, we're going to be raking it in!!!!!

  4. Thanks for joining the tour, Terry! I'm looking foward to your new novello.

  5. Hi Terry,

    I'm dropping by from Twitter. It's my first time here, but I never get tired of reading about a fellow writer's process! You totally captivated me with yours. I can relate to so much of what you describe.

    In fact, I'm off to Amazon now to check out your novels. Hmm... Which to read first? Kings & Queens or The Other Side?

    ~Tui Snider~ Dropping by from Texas via #MondayBlogs
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider's Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

  6. p.s. OK... so I went for "The Other Side" for starters. :) Just so you know, y'know? ;p

    1. Hello, Tui! Sorry, only just seen this - late start this morning! Actually, The Other Side is the most complex, and I'm thinking of re-structuring...!!! I would have said What It Takes, or my new one, Kings and Queens, as I think it's the best!!!! But many, many thanks for your interest, and I have flagged up your blog to look at later xxx

  7. I shall get my post up pronto! Need to think of who to tag...