I've been invited by Christine Findlay to take part in a blog tour about the different ways various writers approach their work. You can find Christine's answers to the following four questions here - and here for Ann Swinfen's answers.
Right - here goes:
1. What am I working on?
For the last good number of years I would have had a quick and easy answer to this - I'm working on a children's novel. Writing fiction for 5-7 year olds, 8-12 year olds, 11+ and YA has been my main focus, and will certainly be so again. But at the moment I've carved a chunk of time out of all that to branch out into poetry and fiction for adults. It's exciting!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
No two voices are the same, and the stories and poems that come out of my head are going to be different from the stories and poems that come out of anyone else's, because the head they came out of is different from anyone else's. So to speak.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Stories and poems have a way of insisting.
4. How does my writing process work?
Ideas have different sizes, shapes and approximate audiences. I recognise a short 5-7 year old idea or a long multi-voiced adult novel idea, and then I write it.
I start longhand, usually with the opening scenes. Then I dot about the place, writing individual scenes as I see them, learning about the characters as I go. When I start to slow down with this, I get everything onto the computer. I'll work on the manuscript on the computer for a while, then I'll print it out and work on it that way for a while. I've been known to cut up pieces of the paper manuscript and cellotape them in order, and then type the changes into the computer again. Eventually I'll have a complete first draft - print it out, make changes, type it back in. Continue until it's as good as I can get it. Then it goes to my agent, who is a phenomenal editor. Back to me for changes. Then, with luck, the manuscript goes to a publisher, who will also edit it. Back and forth it goes until, finally, it's as good as ALL of us can get it.
Interesting questions - thanks for reading!