5th May 2014

The Grand Blog Tour!

Firstly, I’d like to thank Jenny Alexander for inviting me to take part in the Grand Blog Tour this week. I’ve been following Jenny’s blog post for a couple of years – it’s one that I never fail to read as I find her posts thought-provoking and her observations inciteful. So, here’s the link to Jenny’s House of Dreams.

We’ve all been given four questions to answer, so here goes…

What am I working on? 

I’m currently working on a book for girls of around 9-12 years, about a drama queen tween. I started writing it a couple of years ago, but then left it to rest for a while and have recently gone back to it. It’s great going back with fresh eyes and being able to see what was missing. So, I’ve been re-writing it, making the central character’s voice stronger and the incidents a lot funnier. I am also working on a local history book for 8-10 years with another writer and an illustrator. This is very different to anything else I’ve worked on and is a true collaboration. It’s lovely to see the different parts starting to come together.

Oh, and there’s a picture book idea floating around in my head which I’m hoping will find its way on to paper very shortly, and the beginnings of an adult novel (which you can read about here.)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a tricky one for me to answer as I cross genres. I think, as writers, we sometimes think what we have written is truly original, only to find someone else has written something in a similar tone or with a similar concept. That said, I think all works differ from each other because of the individuality of a writer’s voice and, if the characters are well developed, the individuality of their voices too. Also, we have each assimilated our own cultural influences and look at life through our own stained glass window – that, more than anything, I think, is what creates the difference. If I had to pin down something that makes my work different, I would say it was humour and a sense of rhythm – I read and read and read what I have written until the words sound right!

Why do I write/create what I do?

I like to write different genres and for different age groups. I don’t think creativity should have boundaries and I don’t like to box myself in. There are no rules for me as a writer and the joy is in  experimenting and challenging myself to do new things. Ultimately, I want to write books that sit well with me and give me pleasure, in the hope that they will give others pleasure too. I also draw and paint and have recently started making paper pictures – I think I will always need more than one creative exit. I’d like to think that one day I might produce a whole picture book – words and illustrations – that would be wonderful!

How does your writing/creating process work?

From a recent visit to Haddon Hall

From a recent visit to Haddon Hall

It always starts with an idea which can take the form of a visual image (I like to take photos and find these, and images on Pinterest, inspiring), a segment of a dream, a title, a group of words, a character idea, a concept. Sometimes an idea can come from something I overhear or a scene from a film, and often takes me completely by surprise. I quickly pin this down in some form – either with notes or drawings, or a combination of both so that the idea doesn’t float off into the ether. If the idea is for a poem or picture book, I move on to my laptop pretty quickly and do the majority of writing on there, but for longer projects, I start writing ideas in a notebook, usually having a notebook for every project. These would include handwritten notes, pictures from magazines, my own photos, bits of research and drawings. Once I feel I have enough, I then move on to my laptop and start the actual writing. It usually takes at least four drafts before I’m happy, and six or seven is quite normal for me. I find I need breaks along the way – time to clear my head and immerse myself in other things and time to let the words rest before I go back to them. The whole process is not regulated for me – I don’t think I’d enjoy it if it was.

I’d like to nominate two other bloggers to take the Grand Tour forward to other blogs I think you might love. They’ll be joining the tour on the 12th May.

Anna-Lena Olsson is an incredibly creative lady who I met on Twitter a couple of years ago. She makes the most wonderful and varied things and blogs about the process. I find her enthusiasm and talent inspiring. You can find Anna’s blog here.

Annette Thomson is another very creative and inspiring lady who I first met on Twitter and who writes, blogs, takes beautiful photographs and is a wonderful web designer to boot. You can find Annette’s blog here.

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10 responses to “5th May 2014

  1. Interesting, Abi, and I’m hugely impressed with the ease in which you write across genres! I also love the idea that we all have our own stained glass window from which we view the world!

    • Hi Sue, and thank you. I know some writers find a genre that is completely ‘them’ and feel so comfortable with it that they just know that is what they want to write. For me, I feel I want to have a go at everything, even if I’m not very good at some of it. Perhaps it comes from my enjoyment of reading across genres… that could be a whole ‘other’ blog post!

  2. I think we’re writing twins! I love the joy and sense of flow that shines through in all your writing about writing.

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