Thanks to Kate Blackadder for inviting me to follow on in the My Writing Process blog tour. Kate’s lovely blog Kate Writes and Reads can be found here:
Like Kate, I’ve been asked to feature this tour before, but writing is such an interesting and changing landscape, and Kate is so persuasive, I could only agree.
What am I working on?
I need to be a little circumspect here because although I am writing a new novel, it’s a piece that I intend to enter into a competition. Maybe I can tell you about something non-fiction I have in mind.
I’ve contributed lots of short stuff over a period to a lovely Scottish interest magazine called Scottish Memories. It’s full of interesting stuff about things their readers might remember. I’ve written about bus trips, a new car and where I was for the Queen’s Silver jubilee – up a mountain, since you ask. It had as much water as you can see here, but it wasn’t anything like as warm.
So I thought, I might try a piece for them about how history books and historical works inspire and inform my writing. I’ll let you know how I get on. If you’ve got an album full of family photographs, you might find an outlet there, too.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I bet your family photo album also contains lots of brides with bouquets of lilies and hugely trailing swathes of fern. The trick is to make it appealingly different. I’ve found the editor appreciates a slight slant on the stuff asked for. Yes, huge numbers of folk went to street parties to mark various Royal Jubilees, but how many of us went up a mountain, on Harris? That’s what I try to offer her, a wee bit of quirkiness that’s still a possibility.
Why do I write what I do?
Any novelist will tell you that the whole is made up of myriad little bits. Writing workshops frequently offer a ‘picture starter’ and I find them so helpful. Finding an evocative picture in my collection is a great jumping off point and it’s lovely to craft a wee piece and send it off.
It’s also true that we all like a bit of success. A novel takes a long time to write and a long time to produce, so it keeps the spirits up to have a few successes along the way, however short.
My Writing Process
When it comes to short stuff, I often find the editor’s request is a sufficient trigger. What was I doing on Jubilee night, was enough to start a hunt for photos I knew I had. Equally, seeing a particular photograph can prompt a memory. I then write free-flowing. No editing until the ‘story’ is down. Once it’s encapsulated, I go over it and tailor it to both the question and the photograph while never forgetting the market.
I’ve been neglecting short stuff a bit recently, but writing about it has reminded me.
This is where I should list another three folks to carry forward the tour, but instead why don’t I suggest a few ‘filler’ opportunities for you to try. come back and tell Novels Now whether you were successful.
Scottish Memories a monthly magazine of Scottish nostalgia.
Best of British also nostalgia but covers the whole of the UK
The Oldie is a monthly that contains a lot of humour and satire. They have many freelance opportunities and less of a need for photographs.