Monday, 13 July 2009

Am I a weird writer?

I mean, weird in terms of writing style, not content??

My job is mainly office based and sometimes it feels as though I'm glued to the computer 24/7. I know I'm supposed to get away from the screen for breaks, I just don't do it. I would have to set an alarm on my phone to tell me to get up and away, and sometimes I do and it's successful, but most of the time it's just Another Thing I Have To Do.

Emails pop onto my screen like a monsoon between the hours of 9.30 and 18.30. There I am, sat there as if compulsively watching a train crash over and over. Perhaps the next email might explode in my face if I don't answer it in the next twenty seconds? hmm

I have a test-dummy style headache by the time I get home. The last thing I want to do when I get home is to pull open the laptop. But I do. And I blog, I twitter, I facebook. Addictive and entertaining, but neither of which are going to help me write my novel.

So, I pull open a beautiful notepad with a pretty and uplifting cover. Bargain or value note pads are the stuff of the devil as far as I am concerned. I'm a note pad conossieur and only Paperchase, Smith's or Waterstone's finest arty pads will do.

My technique is probably also a bit weird to some of you. I write the plot at a fast pace, getting the main points down first - like an extended synopsis. I'm addicted to the drama and I feel closer to the characters when I'm concentrating on the juicy bits first of all.

I number the parts of my 'extended synopsis'. I read and re-read, then read some more.

I add 'flesh' to the novel by matching each sub-scene to the part of my extended synopsis, kind of like writing by numbers.

This system allows me to revisit earlier parts and cut/add as I wish. It works for me because I need to be able to see the beginning, middle and end to decide which bits are just filler, and are likely to bore the reader to death.

I came up with this system through trial and error and it suits my needs. I don't think my book would get written if I had to use a laptop everynight. And day.

Obviously, I will have to type it up at some stage. I know writers like to be noticed by publishers/agents, but a handwritten novel isn't going to make the cut!

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