Current work: Medical
Listening to: Colin Blunstone
Reading: next on TBR
One thing that interests me is how an author’s writing patterns change. When I first started writing Medical Romances, I used to have a really, really clear view of the beginning of a book, almost like watching a film, and I wrote the early sections of the book at a ridiculously fast speed. Then I hit the saggy middle, and by the end of the book it was like wading through treacle. The last chapter took me longer than the first five.
For some reason, this seems to have reversed nowadays. The beginning of the book is like treacle, the middle still sags and needs tightening up, and I have this clear view of the very end.
This is when it’s timely to read my mate Julie Cohen’s Ten Commandments as a reminder. Particularly #1 and #10. Really, there’s no point in whining about it and putting off the start of a book: it’s so much easier to fix a page that doesn’t work than to stare at a blank screen. (And yes, I DO need a holiday. Four weeks and counting…) Writing something that I’ll cut later might seem like wasted work, but actually it’s quite helpful for developing characterisation – kind of thinking on the page instead of in my head.
The big problem with this book is something I’ve set up in the outline: the hero and heroine don’t work together. Part of the premise of a medical romance is that they should work together: then the medical scenes underpin the romance and move the plot forward rather than acting as filler.
I guess that’s where the creativity us going to come in, because I don’t want to change who they are. The heroine is a neurosurgeon (pain relief specialist, not brain surgeon – there’s a lot of spinal work involved and it’s really interesting) and the hero is a GP (family doctor). Oh, and she’s currently on sabbatical.
Obviously they will have to work together so he can help solve some of her conflict; and working with her will also solve some of his. But. How to get them working together. Starting the book. Getting the momentum going so they speak to me clearly. (I can see the proposal scene and the end REALLY clearly). Hmm. A cup of coffee and ten minutes on Peggle is required, methinks.
Peggle? It’s my new vice: an X-box game. Husband and son both love gaming; I’m trying to show an interest for their sake, but RPGs and shoot-em-up games leave me cold. However, I noticed a review of Peggle in son’s X-box magazine and it intrigued me – you earn points by bouncing a ball off coloured pegs (which sounds dull, but it’s all about angles and strategy and there are lots of different levels and challenges). Son was a sweetheart and downloaded it; and he looked SO pleased with himself when he fished me out of my office to show me, bless. We’re all enjoying this one, though I’m currently stuck on the 400,000 points challenge.
Bites: for some reason, gnats take the meaning of my name very literally. Dear gnats: please note, I am not all honey, so please stop chomping on me – especially near the edge of the sleeve on my T-shirt, because that one is driving me insane. Today I reek of ammonia, owing to the need for frequent application of After-Bite. Note to self: buy citronella candles for use in garden. Another note to self: maybe the garden isn’t the best place to think or write…
But could you resist a sunny patio with a chair, table and a glass of sparkling mineral water with ice and a slice of lime? Not to mention a good view of the bird-feeder, the scent of honeysuckle and Mexican orange blossom, bees buzzing contentedly around the clover on the lawn and a spaniel lying flat out with his head resting on your feet? It’s a very nice work environment. Apart from the gnats.
Oh, yes, lunches: I’m out today with my ex-PTA mates for our termly lunch. Our birthdays fall very conveniently, one per term, so we have a great excuse to meet up. Too much talking and too much laughing – can’t beat it.
Anyway, today’s question: how have you found that your writing methods or routines have changed, over the last couple of years?