Thursday, 29 January 2015

There's snow problem

It snowed overnight and this morning, a light sprinkling but according to TV news and tweets you would think there was chaos everywhere. As I looked out my kitchen window this morning I thought: "What if we lived in Canada when it snowed? How would we cope?"
The snow from my kitchen window
For me this is ideal weather. I can get on with my writing. At the moment I'm pulling together the first three chapters of a new book. This will be my fourth as my third is in that magical state of "coming soon." The snow helps. It forces me to sit in front of my laptop and gazing out all I see is snow and white swirling skies. It allows me to see within, at my story, at my characters.

The first three chapters are the cornerstone to a book. They determine time, pace and setting but also the protagonist's dilemma. They draw the reader into wanting to know more. By the time the snow thaws I'll be heartily sick of reading them. I'll know it is time to close my laptop and look again at the garden without its magical sprinkling of snow, only then will I see it as it is. I'll do the same with my three chapters, I'll look at them again when I've had time to thaw from being so focussed. I will then see them as they are and not as I thought they were. It will be time to chip away at the words so that only the cusp of what I wanted to say remains. Until that happens I'll continue to look out my window and appreciate the luxury of being indoors, being immersed in my own covering of imagination as I write. Somewhere, buried in my words is the true beginning of a new novel.


Friday, 16 January 2015

Working it Out

It has taken an inordinately long time to recover from a very different Christmas and New Year but I grasped 2015 by the throat this Monday.

The Writer's Workout
Everywhere I read of the latest diet or workout and whereas as a teen I would of lapped up the advice with widened eyes, in later life they are wide with disbelief. One way to mess up a natural body rhythm early on is to heed the "latest thing." It follows with a series of the latest things and before you know it your food and exercise perspective is bent out of shape. The same concepts also apply to writers.

It begins with reading, as with the teen who thinks that they need to lose a couple of lbs. The young reader laps up their chosen reading matter to shape their reading taste and perspectives. The young reader will then either regularly workout their reading exercise or then only give it brief attention when at school or when scanning the labels on the edges of supermarket shelves or fast food menus. The avid reader will stick to what they like best or look for the "latest thing."

The trouble with the latest thing is that it is often so over-marketed to target sales that it doesn't necessarily live up to the hype. Will it provide long-lasting results? Will it provide the memories of a well-coined phrase or a strong mesmeric character to haunt your dreams?

Writers are shaped by their reading experiences and when they first set pen to paper it is often followed by research into all the advice other writers have on offer. The new writer seeks a routine, a workout to suit their needs. I have tried numerous methods and heeded the advice but... can all we writers workout to the same routines? No. Just as a writer aims to pen a unique book, unique methods should be what works best for the individual writer. I despair when I hear writers say that they apply a "method" or churn out books quickly to make a name or quick buck.

There's only one trouble with my analogy... a writer also wants to write "the latest thing."