The Creative Process Blog Tour
Thanks to Paula McGrath for nominating me to answer some questions on the creative process.
What am I working on?
Well-travelled – A short story collection: From the backpacker to the business traveller, from the child of diplomat parents to the retired couple touring in their campervan, I’ve been chipping away at about fifteen stories for the past six months and they’re currently reposing in a virtual drawer.
New novel: I’ve been plotting and planning and trying to gather inchoate notions of characters and settings for my nameless new novel. This is the creative stage of the writing process that I love. So these mornings I jump out of bed (something I’m not too well-known for) to get back to it. I hope to write the first draft (and give it a working title) over the summer.
I’m also working on all the little things writers have to do that take insane amounts of time – submitting my completed novel, Lost in Lourdes, to agents and editors, researching writing competitions and literary magazines, devouring all the information I can about the craft and business of writing (and not getting too distracted on Twitter.)
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I haven’t really figured out my genre. I guess every author’s voice is different though, and I have been told in my writers’ group that a certain turn of phrase is ‘typically Hilary’, so although I can’t define my voice I know others can hear it.
Why do I write what I do?
Although novels were my first love, I started writing short stories and flash fiction as a way of gaining some real critique on my writing. I soon came to love reading and writing short fiction.
I feel I have the freedom as an emerging writer to choose whatever form or style or subject-matter I want. I mostly write for myself, usually to just try to make sense of the world.
The books I’ve read and loved recently include Gone Girl, Apple Tree Yard, Transatlantic, The Luminaries, The Goldfinch and Frog Music. It’s difficult to say what these books have in common (apart from the fact that they’ve all been nominated for literary prizes) but I would like to write like that.
How does my writing process work?
Here’s a picture of my attempt to follow the subplots in my new novel. I began with normal-sized cards but I was adding too much detail, so I had to cut the cards to small pieces. I still managed to cram each with barely decipherable scrawl.
My writing process really consists of sitting down every day and trying to progress on one project or another depending on real and self-imposed deadlines. If my concentration is waning, I push myself to complete the task quickly (because a first draft is easier to revise than a blank sheet of paper) and then punish myself with forty lashes or some housework.
Who I nominate next…
I’d like to ask the same questions of KM Elkes @mysmalltales and Geoff Holder @geoffholder58 (update: here it is) and look forward to reading how they work.