When Kate Murray wrote “Oh err… Never done one of these before.”, she took the words right off my keyboard. In truth, these are questions I rarely, if ever, ask myself, let alone have to field from others. She messaged to say she was passing the baton to me (you see, there is a link to the picture above) and, as I write this (28th May), the Commonwealth Games baton passed within a quarter of a mile of my home earlier on, as if it were an omen. Or just a massive coincidence.
So, a chance to ponder on the essence of my writing as opposed to hypothesising on that of others is both challenging and refreshing. Here goes…
What am I working on?
When I started writing this, I was just reading through the digital proof of the paper copy of BATDIG, my first novel. The relentless march of time means that that vital process of proofing is complete and the paper copy is now available through Amazon/CreateSpace. So, back to finishing writing, editing and re-writing my next novel – Kirkenes Blue – ahead of its intended publication sometime in the Winter of this year. I am also adding ideas and stories to my next-but-one novel, Impermeable Landscapes.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
First, I am unsure exactly what genre I write in. Science fiction plays its part, but there are elements of thriller and general fiction blended in there too. Impermeable Landscapes is partly eco-fiction, whereas BATDIG is part science fiction (the second half), part general fiction (the first half).
Why do I write what I do?
Pure escapism! The creation of worlds and characters who, hopefully, do what you tell them to do is wonderful. Even more wonderful is that bit in the writing process where your characters don’t do what they’re told and you discover strange hidden worlds, events and even words (sometimes!) deep in your writing psyche. I love when that happens even though it can lead to headaches later as your novel twists away from your control.
My novel writing tends to have a science fiction leaning to it because I like to observe the mechanisms that drive the real world and the universe, then twist them to see what happens. Quantum physics may only be a shadow of how nature really works, but it’s a great partner to box with! I’m a geek at heart, and they say you should write from the heart…
How does my writing process work?
I have only started to write “seriously” in the past three years, having dabbled on and off for the previous two decades. The thing that kick-started me was taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2011 – that spawned the first part of BATDIG. The challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month encouraged me, for some reason, to write more than just a few hundred words every now and again. As I am not a full-time novelist yet, paid work still takes priority though.
I find that once I have an idea for a story, it tends to develop quite quickly, often quicker than I can write down the ideas. Then that flow tends to all but stop and there is a frustrating few weeks/months where nothing much is written. This is why I like NaNoWriMo – there isn’t time for that to happen. Right now, I am editing and adding to the Kirkenes Blue novel, again started as a NaNoWriMo entry (in 2013). I need to write an ending, which is proving elusive but I know I will nail it!
So, my process is still very much under development. In a NaNoWriMo November month, I reduce paid work to a minimum and develop a rhythm of sorts. I always try not to start the day with a blank page, that way I can start my brain off in writing mode right from the outset.
My nomination for the tour…
Maya Panika, author of the wonderful ‘Entanglement’, currently receiving rave reviews!