My friends joke about how I take my time over everything (read: I’m slow), whether it’s cooking (by now they’re used to being invited over for dinner and served at 11pm), tying shoelaces, applying sun cream, writing notes, walking, responding to texts, etc. This is completely true (except for reading, I’m a very quick reader. And I can finish a packet of Jaffa Cakes in a matter of seconds). So it shouldn’t really have been a surprise that it took me so long to write all the guest posts, or to answer all the Q&As I’ve been doing recently.
Except it wasn’t just that I’m so slow but that I got involved in all the ideas and the questions. They made me think about the book (or at least my part in it) in all kinds of new ways.
First up was my post for SkyLightRain on how to play with time creatively. Writing this made me realise I’d never articulated to myself why I decided to juxtapose the two timelines (past and present-day), or why I chose to write about Tallie at all these different stages of her life (I just knew I wanted to follow her from childhood to adulthood). They were instinctive decisions made at the start of the novel, but luckily they worked for me, for exactly the reasons I give in the post.
For Sharon’s Book Blog I answered a quick Q&A (and loved having to describe Tallie in three words; it’s so disciplined, I might use it as a test for any new characters I create from now on).
I was given the freedom to write posts about whatever I wanted for Portobello Books and Tony Riches’ The Writing Desk. For Portobello I decided to do a close comparison of a paragraph from the first draft with the same paragraph from the final draft. Again, it made me think about the whole process, and how I sketch out scenes and plot the story from a certain angle, and only later do I fill in everything else (see the actual post for a less cryptic description). For Tony, I wrote a blog on what inspires me. I could have gone on for pages and pages; it’s like a dam, guys.
Reviewed the Book wanted a short post about coming of age narratives; this started me thinking about how they’re dressed up differently nowadays (YA fiction), and why YA is so popular now (for the efficient writing and storytelling, because we spend less time on reading? This could lead me down a whole other path…). I tried to keep my digressions to myself.
A video (video!) answering questions for Legend Press was exciting, although desperate to find the right background, I wandered our flat for hours trying out different rooms until I decided on the bedroom (with lurid pink and green wallpaper showing scenes of muscular horses and little children crying. Seriously, it’s very weird wallpaper).
I’ve already written a post titled “Top Ten Reasons Family Secrets Make for Great Storytelling” that’ll be coming out later in the year, and an interview about my writing day routine and another about my research process. They’ve all been so much fun but yes, my friends are proved right again. Even this post was supposed to take me five minutes and I’m checking my watch…. Definitely longer than that.