Tuesday, 29 April 2014

How Do I Write

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I think the whole school not going back till today thing threw me off a bit. Besides, it’s still Monday in the USA (just), so technically I’m not late. That’s my excuse and I’m a-sticking with it!

The lovely Sandie Will (what an awesome first name)asked if I wanted to participate in a blog tour on the writing process and I’ve never done a blog tour, so why not? Hopefully I can answer the questions without looking like a fool. Before I get started though, I’d like to thank Sandie for welcoming me to this opportunity and suggest you all take a look at her blog on How Do I Write?

So here we go...

What am I working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on a piece of Contemporary Women’s Fiction with a working title of THIS SHADOW LIFE. (I stress this is a working title, though it is growing on me.) It is the story of Alice, a woman who fled her small town as a teenager and finds herself running a café in an equally small but vastly different town. When she opens her café one morning and finds a homeless girl in her pantry, Alice is forced to face her past and the secrets she left behind.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? This is a tough one. My work in general focusses on small Australian towns, but what I love exploring is how the past and present are so closely entwined, even if there’s no obvious connection. My first novel, THE POINT had two parallel stories woven through it and Shadow Life is doing the same, even more so. With Shadow Life, however, I’m playing with the structure of the novel, intending the ‘historical’ narrative to be told not in chronological order.

I think the other difference is that while my stories are Australian, they are not ‘ocker’ Aussie stories, if you get what I mean.

Why do I write what I do? Like most writers, I write because I have to. There is simply nothing else I can see myself doing. The type of stories I write are what I’d like to read; the interplay of past and present that fascinates me; small town settings I love (I grew up in what was then a small town); female protagonists who are past the ‘bridget jones’ stage of their life (I never could relate to characters like that – shh, I’m sure that’s sacrilege); and while there are romantic elements to my work, the pivotal relationships are not ‘girl meets boy’ and I write that because these other relationships are so darn rich.

How does my writing process work? I tend to start with a seed of an idea – a picture of a character or scene in my head, a sentence, a title, and just start writing, sometimes with very little idea of where the story is going, sometimes knowing where it ends, but not how it starts. With THIS SHADOW LIFE, for example, I had the end in my head, just a scene, and I’ve gone from there.

Once I’m abut 20k words in, when I’ve got a better understanding of my characters and their story, then I plan. I ask myself perhaps the two most important questions of all Why and How? until the story comes together. Then I write more.

I used to get hung up when I wasn’t sure where the story was taking me, or couldn’t resolve a plot or character issue. Now I write through it and go back later to sort it out and funnily enough, the solution has usually presented itself by then.

One interesting thing about how I write is, perhaps, that I write the old fashioned way; with pen and paper, before going to my computer. Something about that movement across the page just gets me going. Hey, there are worse things to get excited about.

Up next week:
I did have three writers lined up to blog next, but due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, not everyone can play along next week. So, if you’d like to focus all your love and attention on the wonderful Bianca Nogrady on Monday 6th May, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I met Bianca at a writing course and her novel BIOHUNTER sounds like a cracking good read to me. She was a finalist with it in the recent Twitter Nestpitch competition, and I hope she gets picked up soon so I can find BIOHUNTER in my local bookstore.

BiancaNogrady is a freelance science journalist by day, non-fiction author by night, and aspiring fiction author in the twilight. When not writing about everything and anything in science and medicine, she reads and writes speculative fiction in all flavours and colours. She is querying her first novel BIOHUNTER  - an adult science fiction - and starting work on a second novel, an urban fantasy based on Greek mythology. Bianca writes, blogs and rants at



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