So, working as a writer equals sitting at a desk bashing away frenziedly on a keyboard for hours and hours and hours and hours, pausing only to shout ‘eureka!’ every now and again as an astonishingly intelligent idea or brilliantly profound thought hits you.
Or, maybe it doesn’t….
Yesterday, for example, I started out thinking about a scene in my next book ‘What Not to Do in The Dark’ (coming soon!). I could picture the scene really clearly in my head – it’s a bit where my heroine, Circe, realises she needs to literally dance her way out of deep trouble, but she doesn’t know how to dance in the ‘proper’ way, so needs to get creative. But I just couldn’t get started, every opening sentence I typed just didn’t sound quite right, didn’t feel real. I spent a couple of hours (yes, hours, argh) wrestling with it, bashing out a few lines, deleting them, doing it again, then again (draining about six cups of strong coffee and munching through far far too many biscuits in the process) before I finally did have a ‘eureka’ moment and realised where I was going wrong – in my effort to describe Circe’s struggle, I was breaking one of my own top writing rules…
Don’t write facts – write feelings.
And when I asked myself how Circe would be feeling, while she was dancing down the leafy lane in The Middle Of Absolute Nowhere (where she lives) I realised I didn’t really know, I hadn’t really got ‘under her skin’. So there was only one thing to do…
Luckily, I’m on holiday in deepest Devon at the moment (note – writers are never ever on holiday!) so it wasn’t difficult to find a leafy lane deserted enough to ‘become’ Circe. And after quite a lot of leaping about, whirling around and trying not to land face down mid-pirouette I knew exactly how Circe would feel.
To the two lovely ladies on their morning walk with their sausage dog who got a bit scared – I apologise. To my husband (who sneakily took this pic) How dare you – of course I am NOT having fun, I am working extremely hard!
Do you ever act out your character’s scenes before you write them? Or do you have any other weird or wild ways of working? Let me know, I’d love to hear about them.
Till next time, with a (very dodgy) balletic curtsy, Diane x