Blogging: Blog Tour Monday

A little bit of joy for a Monday morning. I’ve been asked by the wonderful Louise Swingler to get on the Blog Bus which is essentially a tour of other writer-type-people’s blogs. Although I should probably be job-hunting or working on my novel, I jumped at the chance to be involved in this fun journey. Ok, so the idea is that I must answer four writerly questions  – just as Louise and Graeme Shimmin did last Monday, Sarah Louise Jasmon did the week before after she was asked to join the Blog Tour by David Hartley. Still with me?

The idea is to find new writers, read new blogs. So far, so brilliant idea!

Click on the above links for my predecessors answers and read below for my ramblings. Oh, also check out Dr Steve Hollyman, my partner in Blog Bus crime this week, as a guest poster on Louise’s blog (and buy his novel here)

What am I working on?

I am currently working on the first draft of my Young Adult novel ‘LOL.’ The premise behind this blog is to ‘publish’ each chapter in a public forum. I’m also working on the title. I recently found out there was a film staring Miley Cyrus with the same name. Bah!

ImageMy thoughts exactly, Miley!

I’ve always been ‘a writer’ – my mum still has the hand written tales I used to dream up about a hedgehog and pig who were best friends – but aged eighteen I decided to take it a little further and went to university to study English and Creative Writing. It must have caught my interest because I decided to invest myself completely in the writerly life by signing up for an MA in Creative Writing at the Manchester Metropolitan University Writing School which I cannot recommend highly enough. I met some fantastic friends and writers, many of whom have gone on to achieve success with their own work.

I’ve made the decision to write more this year – I’ve even given up my (pretty crap) job in London and moved back to my home town so I can do so. I can be quite a lazy writer who is easily distracted. I have resolved to blog more. I think the process of blogging is quite cathartic and its certainly given me a boost in terms of completing my novel and plucking up the courage to share work.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Genre is such a difficult subject. I didn’t set out to write young adult fiction, in fact, my whole novel stems from a short story I wrote during an Arvon course with friends from my MA where I was told I had a good voice for YA fiction and was encouraged to explore this further. Since then I’ve become sort of obsessed with the genre, consuming YA novels at a rate of knots. Its a fantastic genre where a writer can explore really interesting subject matter. I’m really intrigued by the whole ‘coming of age’ experience and am especially interested in looking at the way modern technology has impacted on this period of life (which is partly what LOL is about). And – the more I delve into this genre – the more I notice I’m by no means the only adult who loves YA fiction!

In terms of how my novel differs from other YA authors. I’m not sure. I’ve never been great at looking at my work in that way (i.e.. comparing it to actual published authors) but I’d say I was a contemporary writer. I like my writing to be set in the here and now and I like it to be realistic. I also like to explore the darker side of human nature and am particularly interested in the skeletons hiding in family closets. The more disturbing and sinister, the better.

No Enid Blyton here. Unfortunately.

How does my writing process work?

I am a completely unstructured writer. In the past I have only ever written when I felt like it – the middle of the night, at work, on public transport, in the pub – and usually like a madwoman when a deadline is involved. I’m also a bits-of-paper-everywhere, notebook full of ramblings/pictures/song lyrics kind of girl. I write like I am – completely chaotic! I listen to music, drink endless cups of coffee/glasses of wine and look at videos of dogs on the internet, then, and only then, am I ready.

I’m trying to be more disciplined now and have given myself a deadline of April 30th 2014 to finish the first draft.

Yup.

Nomination time, peeps. I’m choosing London based script-writer Mike Delwiche who, because he doesn’t blog, has offered (for offered, read I have begged him) to write a guest post on my blog and help keep the wheels turning. See here for his wares.

Cheers, guys.

And in the words of Destiny’s Child: ‘Pack yo bags, Get on the bus.’

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Sleepless in The Shire

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A flock of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,
Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure sky –
I’ve thought of all by turns, and still I lie
Sleepless…
~William Wordsworth, “To Sleep”

I’m having trouble sleeping which, if you know me, is nothing new. I probably have an encyclopedic knowledge of sleeping pills and their pros/cons. When holidaying in Europe last year with a friend we embarked on the Sleeping Tablet Tour O’Euro in an attempt to rank countries by strength, size and potency of over the counter remedies for sleeplessness (Of course France won). I am also probably more reliable than the Radio Times when it comes to scheduled late-night television. FYI its mostly repeats of American crime dramas, terrible films or poker programmes.

Anyway, its been about four weeks since I absconded from That London and found myself rehoused in The Shire and I am seriously starting to feel the effects of sleep deprivation. I blame this clean country living lark. Perhaps I need someone to record the sirens of Westminster for me so I can listen to them pre-bedtime as a sort of lullaby. Or funnel red wine down my neck in enormous quantities so I can sleep the joyful sleep of the inebriated and not have my brain flickering away like a television left on in a dark room.

Joking aside, does anyone else believe that tiredness/sleep patterns have an influence on writing and creativity?

On typing my question into Google I was hit with contradictory advice (surprise, surprise). While some writers are firmly in the ‘Sleep is the best and easiest creative aphrodisiac’ camp, others are advocates of the whole Creative Insomnia thing (sleep is for the weak and all that jazz).

Personally, I find that as I lay in bed at night my mind starts to wake up, mull things over, come up with ideas. When I’m wanting to hit the hay, there’s a little voice in my head that starts making lists, worrying, planning. Whole chunks of dialogue play out in my mind like conversations or troublesome plot holes/wooden characters are miraculously mended, and I have to reach for a pen and paper to write it all down because I know they will disappear like wisps of smoke by morning. So I suppose that sees me relcutantly bedding down with the Creative Insomniac types. Which is annoying because I’d rather be in the tent sleeping the sleep of the dead with the other normal folk.

Perhaps I will always be a late-night writer. Perhaps I won’t ever be able to retrain my brain to write in the morning. Perhaps I will never sleep again.

Any ideas?

(Chapter Seven – coming soon)