Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Sue Eves asked me to join The Writing Process Blog Tour and talk a bit about my writing process and then post it on my blog. You can read all about Sue’s writing process on her blog: www.sueeves.net/bloggin-the-blog

Although I said, ‘Yes! I’ll join the tour!’ as it is not like me to turn down a chance to try my hand at writing something new  - I feel a bit of a fraud for two major reasons:
  •   I have not actually posted anything on my blog for over two years.
  • At the moment, I have no commissions - I am working on nothing!

Well, actually this last statement is not necessarily true because…

What am I currently working on? 
I write something every day, even on days I don’t think I am writing anything.
  1. I am researching, writing and sending out questionnaires to authors about their research for my column Research Secrets in Writers’ Forum www.writers-forum.com . I am also editing several completed questionnaires, cutting and formatting the authors’ answers to the required length and ensuring they meet the brief of being about their research into their book, before sending them to my editor. He has three features on file from me at the moment. This means I have filled my slot in the magazine until August, so I am not in any particular hurry.
  2. I am working on a picture book text, honing and polishing and trying to get it perfect before sending it to a commissioning editor at a large publishing company in the hope that they may want it. There is no deadline as nobody knows I am writing it, so I am not in a particular hurry.
  3. I am writing the very last two chapters of a middle grade time-slip fantasy novel using Scrivener, which I have not used before but I wanted to explore it to see how it worked. For this novel, I’ve realised my antagonists are a bit shallow and want to explore this a bit and make them more formidable and also change their appearance. But… there is no deadline and nobody has expressed a real interest in it, so I am not in a particular hurry.
  4. I am thinking, researching and writing notes on an idea for a new novel, which is YA. This is for an older age range than I normally write fiction for. It is very dark and maybe totally inappropriate for children! I have written the first eight chapters and plotted out the rest of the book. I know who, what, where, when and how and want to concentrate on building the characters’ emotional arc. But… there is no deadline and I have not told anybody much about it yet, so I am not in a particular hurry.
  5. I am writing this for my blog, in between checking out Facebook, watering my virtual garden and playing spider solitaire. It is not due until the 12th May and it is still April (just). I have not posted on my blogs for years and I seriously doubt anybody is going to read it really. I also know I can edit and change it whenever I like… so there is no urgency and consequently - I am not in a particular hurry… but I know I will be!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Writing to commission for the educational market is different to writing for the general fiction market because you know it will be published and you usually have very tight deadlines. You are also writing to a brief. I get some very tight briefs and I am not talking about my underwear! For example, the last project I was working on and finished in February, was for a Spanish toy company, World Alive S.L.  I was asked to write 24 pen-friend style letters for four different kits for their adventure passport project. The letters each had to be a separate adventure to include the destination, photos, food and animals they had previously decided. www.adventurepassport.net

As well as the brief, we had several Skype sessions discussing the project and how I was going to proceed.

The most difficult part was inventing 24 different adventures that included the stickers and photographs for each country that they had all ready put into production. You might think it sounds like a nightmare but I enjoyed every second of it, even the editing of the stories to reduce word count and take into consideration cultural significant facts I was previously unaware of. I believe I did an excellent job fitting it all together.

Why do I write what I do?
I write for the educational market because it is fun! I have a good knowledge of the school curriculum and the levels which children work. I also enjoy working to a brief and fitting it all together like a jigsaw puzzle. I love the fact I have a deadline and the majority of the time I work as part of a team discussing, changing and manipulating ideas as we go. Each project is like its own adventure.

How does my writing process work?
I saw this posted on Facebook a few weeks back and it struck me as so true. I have edited it a bit to make it more relevant and take out the swear words in case my mother decides to read this post!

Honestly, this is how my writing process works.

I say on my website www.anitaloughrey.com I work well to a deadline! What I mean is if I don’t have a deadline the work probably will not be done. I need the sense of urgency to get myself into gear! This is why I am brilliant at working to commission but not so good at writing my own stuff which nobody has asked for!

So that is it folks maybe for another two years. But who knows maybe I will get the urge to post again!

Meanwhile take a look at the excellent writers I am going to pass the baton on to and they will tell you all about their writing process next Monday 19th May.

David Seow

David Seow was born and raised in Singapore. He studied at Anglo-Chinese School, Oregon Episcopal School and the University of Portland, Oregon. After a stint in sitcom writing, David embarked on a career in children's literature. David is the author of several well-received children's books, including The Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di series. His book ‘There's Soup on My Fly’ was shortlisted for the Hedwig Anuar Children’s Book Award and was dramatized at the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in 2012. His latest books are "If I were a Blue Kangaroo" and "Emma’s Elephant" and “At the Night Safari” and “A Day with the Duchess”. 
Read about his writing process at: http://authordavidseow.blogspot.co.uk

Emma Nicholson

I am a born scavenger, picking up ideas from all walks of life. I've lived abroad on and off, and am currently in Singapore where my first book was published in January. I've made my writing life out here, and am involved in lots of projects from picture books to mystery-adventures set in the tropics. 
Read about my writing process at: http://emmanich.blogspot.co.uk

Alex Woolf

Alex Woolf has worked as a writer and editor for over 20 years and has published around 80 works of fiction and non-fiction, mainly for children and young adults. His non-fiction encompasses a whole variety of subjects, from science and the natural world to politics and social issues, but his favourite subject is history. By far his biggest work to date is his Short History of the World, which has sold over 45,000 copies in the English-speaking world and been translated into seven different languages since it first appeared in 2008.

Alex’s fiction includes the Chronosphere series, a a time-warping science-fiction trilogy, and Aldo Moon and the Ghost of Gravewood Hall, described by best selling crime writer Peter James as witty, ghostly and at times deliciously ghastly. He’s also written Soul Shadows, a horror novel about shadows that come to life, which has been shortlisted for the 2014 RED Book Award. Alex is a regular author for Fiction Express, online publishers of interactive stories for schools. He writes a chapter a week, and children vote on how the story should continue. 2014 sees the release of Iron Sky: Dread Eagle, his first foray into the world of steampunk. He lives in Southgate, North London, with his wife and two children.

Read about Alex Woolf's writing process at: http://alexwoolf.co.uk/blog