Stand well back, I’m writing

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…

The author at work (honestly).

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

26 thoughts on “Stand well back, I’m writing

  1. Diane, writers are ALWAYS on holiday! 😀 (but, they don’t leave their chair for hours…I’m glad I’m not the only one to be stuck in her chair for ages in the day. Is it normal that you sometimes don’t write much when you have the flu?

  2. I do a character interview in which I split my brain in half to my character and myself. I ask my character questions about the event I’m writing about as if I’m an interviewer for a newspaper article or something. Then I write down exactly what my character would say to them. It usually opens up my brain a little bit. Or if I don’t have paper or my computer with me I mutter it under my breath. I must look rather odd to the other people on the bus 🙂 Dancing down a leafy road in Devon sounds much more fun though, might have to try it!

  3. I sometimes do. Like the time I sressed up as a ghost girl to know what it feels to be dead and scare people. The worst part was, my brother filmed me doing it.
    But then again, I’m more of a teen literature type of writer and I have experienced every possible thing a teenager can see in their school drama life.

    I just want to confirm, will Rufus Strakes be in this book as one of the lead characters? I’m sorry, he is just so hot, I couldn’t help asking. And he rides horses, i dig those kind of guys. Please Diane Messidoro, please answer. I am huge fan and all of my friends are!

    • Ha, funnily enough, ghosts are involved too!

      And re Rufus, well Femmy that would be telling, it’s all top secret right now…

      Oh, okay then, I’m rubbish at keeping secrets, yes Rufus will be in it, riding horses and being extremely hot and moody! Delighted you like him!

      • Awesome! Now I’m even more excited for this book! It’s just that, Rufus is the Hottest, Coolest More Amazing Guy I’ve Ever Met!
        Ok, I’ve not met him. But met someone who comes close to him!
        Oh, and I love your hair! What’s your secret?

  4. This is so beautiful! Loved this post so much! I bet everyone here will remember that picture when reading that scene! 🙂 So awesome!

  5. Apparently, that’s the style I like. Instead, my hair is just flat.

    I’m just curious, is there going to be a love triangle between Rufus, Portia and Circe?

  6. I got so absorbed in Circes story I forgot to go to sleep! I read from 2am until I’d finished at 9am…what an emotional rollercoaster. I absolutely loved the book, it was funny, thought provoking, sad and uplifting all at the same time which makes it the PERFECT book to recommend to my customers! (I’m a bookseller at Waterstones in Birmingham High St) I am buying my best friend who’s 27 and my niece who’s 13 this book for xmas as I know they will both adore Circe, love the confidence building advice and will immediately start work on their own boys as pets plans! Thanks Diane, I can’t wait to read your next book. Gem xxx

    • WOO HOO! thanks so much, Gem, what a lovely thing to read on Xmas Eve as I sit finishing off the next book! Thank you – you’ve put fresh fuel in my writing engine! Delighted you loved it – and hope the gifts go down well – happy boy taming to all! And, of course, Happy Christmas. Diane x

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