Sunday, 27 March 2011

Strange writing habits

Do any of my fellow writers have writing habits that make people narrow their eyes and think 'if she's normal, I don't want to be?'

There was a post on another blog a couple of weeks back asking what we all needed to get the juices really flowing. I did include Scrivener on my list because I am fast realising just how useful it is, especially allied with Dropbox so everything is safe. But when I came to think more deeply about things, it occurred to me that I'd been less than honest.

Want to know how Luke Ballard and his world of elemancy came into being? Those who know me well will laugh and shake their heads, but, truth is, I'd had the idea of 'Henry's black-eyed boy' in my head for about 5 years, not knowing what to do with it. Then in 2009, I took a deep breath and bought my heart's desire. A Mont Blanc Boheme fountain pen that cost £1,000, all but a few quid. So, here I was with this pen and a gorgeous notebook the assistant had given me. So I needed something to write in it, didn't I? All the way back to the east coast of Yorkshire from Manchester, my brain had little to do apart from think and up popped Henry's black-eyed boy again. That allied with a suggestion from my husband that I find a believable alternate world and, in the space of a two hour journey, Luke Ballard was born. He slid into my conscious somewhere around junction 27 of the M.62 and has never left. Duty of Evil was the result.

So, fast forward to Book 2 and again, stationery played its part. This time I was in Germany, bought a great A4 book and a really comfortable Faber-Castell Grip Plus pencil - bit cheaper this, it was only about £6. We'd gone on holiday for a rest, so only did a few of the trips, which left quite a lot of time at our disposal once I'd had a couple of daily swims. Paul just wanted to sit with a beer and gaze into space. I plotted the sequel to Duty of Evil. Now it's book 3 time and I am getting stuck in the real history of the time, something fascinating because it involves the village I was born and the estate of the family my father worked for in the 1930s. Odd bits of plot have been seeping through, but this is where I find Scrivener a bit too organised, so until I know where I am going, I am reverting to type. Yesterday I got my birthday present a couple of weeks early. Yes, it's another pencil, this time a Parker Sonnet.

I shall, in the short-term at least, revert to my other standby. The shower door. Ah, but this isn't any old shower door. This is one that is hung on my office wall to form a huge glass board. I scribble ideas at random, go and sit in my chair and stare at it, then make connections and let the creativity flow. What is useful is that the closing bar to pull the shower door shut is a perfect ledge at the bottom of my 'board' for the pens. I use different colours for different plot strands. So, my idea is, using a mixture of what works for me - i.e. new pens/pencils, notebooks and the shower door and the Scrivener software, I'm going to try and plot the whole of the book before I get down to the writing in earnest.

But first, I'm going to play with my new pencil and see what transpires...

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The joy when it all flows

There are times when I am just so damned privileged. Here I sit in my fabulous office, writing on a state of the art Mac. The sun is shining, the words are flowing, English pastoral music is playing and all is right with the world. Last night I enjoyed a great rehearsal for St Matthew Passion, which we are performing in Scarborough and Bridlington on 15th and 16th April. My husband is back from the wilds of Nottingham and this afternoon, I'm having my nails done. Yes, shallow is my middle name.

Of course, there's always a weed floating about. Today, mine is called Rufus. He is our rescue golden retriever, a cracking dog, utterly beautiful - and knows it - and also completely naughty. If anyone in my locality is missing a bird-feeder, complete with nuts, then it was your garden he romped into the other day. Today, he chose someone else's garden - how I wish they would mend their fences, then he couldn't get in. Thing is, most of the time, he is a sweetie, but now and again, he gets the devil in him. If I am quick, I can head him off at the pass, but this morning I wasn't. Punishment for both of us is immediate cessation of the walk and Rufus back on the lead and home. So this morning's walk, instead of being a soul uplifting jaunt along the beach, throwing bits of wood in the water for him to swim to and retrieve, ended up being a 15 minute toilet trip and little else.

Still, if that's the only negative in my life, I shall count my blessings and thank the man upstairs for his generosity.