Diamonds don’t start out shiny
My gorgeous friend and fellow scribe, Nicole Hayes, author of YA novel The Whole of My World, among many other great YA and Children’s books, has asked me to participate in a Blog Hop, called “The Writing Process”.
I thought it might be a good opportunity for some introspective examination — a pause to stop, breathe, and look where I am — so here are the four simple questions accompanied by my, hopefully not too waffly, answers.
1. What am I working on?
Oh god! What am I not working on?
• Literary Fiction: a novel based on the universal and ever-present need for parental approval.
• YA Fiction: a coming of age story about an abused young girl learning to face her fear of relationships as she moves into adulthood.
• Adult Thriller: abduction and slavery in the South Seas.
• Romance: love set in the turbulence of cyclonic Far North Queensland.
• Plus: copywriting, blogs, the odd short story, website content, articles, plus my editing and proofreading work. I think I just ran out of breath there.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Okay, I was asked this question last week, and I had a crap answer then, but I’m sticking to it anyway: it’s hard to define because I’m enjoying a tasting plate of genres to find out what my favourite flavour is. I have, however, heard it said again and again that there are no new stories; the difference lies in how the stories are told. So, I’m leaning towards what differentiates authors themselves: their voices. I’m either grabbed from the start or it’s not worth persisting with the struggle. That’s a scary thing, knowing you have to snaffle a reader with your very first words.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Because I’m a little crazy (all writers are IMO) and it’s in my nature to stretch myself. Over time I’ve learned to trust that path. Being brave enough to write the truth of our experiences, painful or joyful, embroidered in fictional characters or made bare in factual narratives, makes the writing real for others to experience. It works, it flows. Resisting the truth arrests the story. Ooh can I quote that?
4. How does my writing process work?
I’m a polisher. I can’t move on until my words, diamonds in the rough, have a reasonable shine. That doesn’t mean my words won’t get rewritten next time I read them. I’m a literary bottle of Mr Sheen and the words are never shiny enough.
That’s it. I’m done. Next Monday I’m passing the literary baton to one of my heroes and tutors at RMIT: Simmone Howell, author of Girl Defective, Notes from the Teenage Underground and Everything Beautiful.