My writing process

I’m doing something different today, writing about myself instead of someone else’s work. I’ve been invited by JJ, a fellow writer and workshopper to ‘blog hop’ on my writing process. So here goes.

What am I working on?

I’m working on my very first (and hopefully not last!) novel, The Three Graces, a coming of age story set in Melbourne and London in the 1960s. I’m interested in the myth and reality of those times, which have been so venerated in both fiction and non-fiction. As a coming of age story, I’m necessarily concerned with how we come to form the attitudes and opinions we do, how our political and ethical values evolve when we are young, and critically, how our parents and our relationship with them influences the paths we follow.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

This story is concerned with the psychological development of the main characters and how they respond when bad things happen to them. All pretty standard stuff for this genre, but what I want to try and avoid is telling a story that is unremittingly grim with no light or fun. I think that even when bad things happen, life isn’t always a depressing struggle. And more importantly, many people respond to adversity by facing up to it and not being victims. Its a tricky balance though because by including fun and happiness in character’s lives, I have to watch I  don’t dilute the internal and external struggles they are up against. Something to keep me on my toes.

Why do I write what I do?

I’ve chosen to write what is by definition a historical novel because I’m interested in how Australia was in the past and what happened then that influences the way live now. And I love research. I love it so much that its in danger if sinking scenes and dialogue so I have to remember that only a fraction of what I’ve discovered really should go into the story.

And I’m interested in what motivates people to behave the way they do, especially how good people do bad things. So I try to avoid main characters that are completely sympathetic victims or completely evil antagonists.

How does my writing process work?

I’m a planner so I put a lot of time into the plot and structure of this book before I got stuck into the writing. I love the way stories evolve from a small seed of an idea of a character or place, and how events and scenes come to me and can be fed into the story. But I’m beginning to understand that it takes a few drafts to nail down characters.

I’d love to be able to devote lots of hours every week to writing because I just love it and never have trouble generating words. I don’t think I’ve ever had writers block. But the reality is that I’m juggling three part time jobs, a masters course, a novel-writing course and being a mother, so time is limited.

But having said that, I actually do most of my writing in my head. I think about scenes, lines of dialogue, sentences and words while I’m waiting for trains, watching my daughter play in the park, sitting in traffic or cooking dinner. So when I sit down to write, out it all comes.

At the moment, I do most of my writing on the weekend and I like to write in the morning when my mind is fresh. My ideal writing environment is taking my laptop into the garden and writing for as long as I can without being interrupted.

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My nominee to write about his writing process is Duncan, (http://swanssililoquy.wordpress.com) an aspiring writer like me and one of my fellow workshop writers.

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