Friday, November 19, 2010


Current work: really should be tidying the bearpit (aka my office)
Listening to: Daughtry
Reading: The Tenderness of Wolves, Stef Penney (enjoying so far – good portrayal of Victorian society)

The gelati book went off to my editor and agent this morning. Fingers crossed they like it.

Normally I take a bit longer than this over a book, but this particular story really wanted to be told. And writing fast suits me better – it means I’m writing from my heart rather than from my head (aka trying to second-guess my ed and avoid enormous revisions, and it’s been an epic fail on that front this year).

The biggest thing about writing is to know your own process and be comfortable with it. One thing I’ve learned in 20+ years of being a published writer is not to compare my process to that of others, because what works for them might not work for me (and vice versa – which is why Kate Walker dubbed me ‘Scary Kate’, even though I maintain that I’m too short, too round and too good at making cookies to be scary). There’s no absolute right way in creativity: it’s a matter of trying different things and finding out what works best for you. Use that, and leave what doesn’t work without beating yourself up about it. If something doesn’t work for you, all it means is simply that it doesn’t suit your way of working, not that you’re rubbish. I'm much more of a plotter than a pantster (though I like to leave myself some wiggle room) and 'writing into the mist' freezes me solid; pantsters would be bored to tears by the way I do things. It doesn't mean either way is wrong: it just means they're different.

So, now the book’s done… what next? I could start thinking about my next book. However, I’m also expecting revisions on my Capri medical (lovely ed held off, at my request, so I could finish this one – it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed my job this much, and I wanted to write this book without having to break off, tackle revisions, then lift myself off the ground again and get back to creating a book). And in the meantime my office definitely needs a tidy. I haven’t done it for months – I’ve been on deadline, or in the middle of revisions, or in a rush on something or other. I could do that today, but instead I’m skiving off. I’m going to meet my friend Kate for a celebratory lunch (she’s just sold her first novel) and do a bit of Christmas shopping :o)

First things first: update my todo/project list. And then I’ll take it from there.

Have a nice weekend!


Jane Holland said...

I'm a plotter too. I used to plunge in, willy-nilly, but those days are long gone. I would be terrified now, to start a book not knowing how it would pan out and exactly what word count I'm looking at and more or less how the last chapter will finish. Some pantsers think that means no room for changes and surprises, but that isn't the case, is it? You plot the structure, but it's left wonderfully flexible, like wire rather than steel, and much of the fine detail is missing or subject to change. That's where you get the fun and the surprises, in the shading.

And you make cookies? I'm really jealous.

I can make bread, no problem. But cakes, cookies, pastries ... these are embarrassingly bad. People politely hide my bakery efforts under the furniture when I'm not looking. So I've stopped trying. I can't compete with my second eldest daughter Becki, anyway, who is a whizz at baking and works in a kitchen.

One should play to one's strengths, don't you agree? ;-)

And congrats on finishing the book. Yay!! I'm waiting for revisions on mine, but have heard on the phone that they are very light, which is a major relief, as I had feared months of rewrites ahead. We need to kill a minor character, really, and that's about it. So I'm off to sharpen my knives ...

Nicolette said...

Congrats on finishing the book, despite the lurgy's best attempts to throw you off.

I used to write without planning the story, but frequently found that after Chapter 2 or 3, my story began to lose focus/steam, so now I plan. I use Julie Cohen's post-it note method, using pink felt-tip pens for romantic parts, brown felt-tip pens for backstory, green pens for external conflict and red for internal. Everything else in blue. It really works for me and helps me see where pace should be and drama.
Anyway, haven't made cookies, but have just put together a delicious apple crumble and made Nigel Slater's orange jelly which was on TV the other night. Kids are gonna be thrilled when they get home!

Bluestocking Mum said...

Ahhh, well done you.
Give yourself a big pat on the back!

I loved this blog. As an unpublished writer I've had some real crises of confidence over last couple of years over the writing process and how I do things and there's been much beating myself up.

But do you know, with the break I've had, I'm itching to get back -simply to my own process -
I have an idea, the characters, plot and ending in my head and I just want to write, write, write - yes, I'm a fast writer and find when I'm in the right frame of mind it just flowwwwssss.

I think at long last I might be comfortable with my own way of doing things! Being a Pantster's not for me.

You deserve some time out with Kate and some Christmas shopping I'd say.

Enjoy your weekend too

Caroline said...

Great stuff Kate. Congrats on finishing your book. And why not have a day off? You deserve it! Caroline x

Kate Hardy said...

Jane - that's a great analogy. Wire rather than steel. (I might have to pinch that, but I will credit you!!)

LOL on playing to one's strengths. That's why I'm having to low-carb now. Too good at the cakes and cookies ;o)

Glad to hear your revisions are light! (Mine are less so... but then again, I've seen worse!)

Kate Hardy said...

Nicolette - thanks, and well done you on finding something that works for you. (I haven't quite gone down the colour coding route yet - Jean Fullerton does it as well and swears by it.)

Apple crumble and Nigel's jelly. Hmm. Can I come to yours for tea? ;o)

Kate Hardy said...

Bluestocking Mum - fab to hear that you're itching to get back to writing - brilliant stuff! And don't beat yourself up. There are no rights and wrong, just what works for you (and that can change, too - which is OK as well). I'm all for empowerment rather than didacticism :o) (no, I wasn't drinking wine at lunch - but I did have proper coffee made by someone other than me!)

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - it was a lovely, skivy day. And I did some Christmas shopping which ended up with Hotel Chocolat giving me a present.

Only thing is, husband and kids are vultures. "But we did it to save your diet." Yeah, right!!

Just as well I didn't mention the box of gianduja that is going to be - oh, wait. I'm going to tidy my office this weekend, so I can't hide the box on my desk. OK. It'll be in the fridge with a "for author doing revisions only" note taped to it :o)

susanwilson44 said...

Congrats Kate on finishing your book and here's praying for light revisions on your med. xx

Jane Holland said...

I hope Nicolette swings by again, as I'm intrigued by "Julie Cohen's Post-It method".

Any clues as to what this method is? I use the little sticky-out post-its for final revisions before submitting - just to mark pages where major doings need to happen. But this sounds different.

I'm always willing to try new tricks!

Kate Hardy said...

Susan - thanks. They're doable. Not light... but doable. :)

Jane - check out

Lacey Devlin said...

It's fabulous news that the gelati book is one step closer to being in my hot little hands :). I am in awe of your productivity Kate and I can only hope that one day my process morphs into yours ;)