Thursday 14 July 2011

Late nights and being grown-up

I have got a solar-powered spot light that I use on my desk for late-night writing sessions. These sessions are few and far between, but seem to work quite well - perhaps I like the idea that everyone else is asleep while I cook up stories and imagine possible covers. 

For my next chapbook a cover image came to mind long before a story. I've managed to sketch out the cover, but now I'm working on the story - not so easy! When I write I usually start with a remark, or a question and the rest builds from there. But recently I've been trying to focus a bit more and be more 'grown up' about structuring my stories. This being grown up is not as boring as it sounds - it's really about thinking of a story and then telling that story rather than trying to be clever and stumbling around in the dark. I found an old notebook recently from my time at UEA. Patricia Duncker told us that its 'grown up' to have a beginning, middle and end to our stories. The point is to finish - so it's important to think through the whole structure. 

I am also trying not to be lazy. I have never subscribed to the idea of having to wear my pajamas to write, or only sitting in one kind of chair or using one kind of pencil, or writing at a specific time of day. I write when I can think of something to write and when I have time. But I have been pushing myself a bit lately - "get to 2000 words tonight," or 3000 words or whatever, so that by 3500, I might have the bones of a story. I am a ruthless cutter - I cut out a lot of the story so only the vital bits are showing. Sometimes just the eyes, or only the heart.

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