Monday, 31 March 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour!

Today is The Writing Process Blog Tour Day. This blog tour is where writers and authors answer questions about their writing process. One of the founders of my writing group, Gabrielle Aquilina, posted hers last week. Her blog is fab and worth checking out. You can take a look at her writing process here:

Here’s a glimpse into my writing world!

What am I working on?

Poison In The Water is a thriller and is my current work in progress. It’s set between travellers Thailand, glamorous Hong Kong and the bright lights of London.
The book tells the story of Celeste Renshaw, who thinks she has it all; the dream job; the fairytale marriage and money to burn.  But she stumbles on a secret that challenges everything she knows to be true.

My other project is a collection of flash fiction set around India which accompanies a collection of photographs. I’m working on this with photographer and good friend, Urmi Kenia. You can see one of the work in progress stories and pictures on my website. We hope to publish this collection later in the year.

I am also working on a light-hearted detective series set in rural Goa. Under The Coconut Tree is the first book in the series entitled The Chupplejeep Mysteries. In the book we are introduced to the loveable Detective Chupplejeep and his assistant Police Inspector Pankaj as well as a whole host of endearing characters. In Under The Coconut Tree Detective Chupplejeep is charged with finding the killer of Sandeep Shah, but with threats from the new Commissioner, his fortieth birthday approaching and a girlfriend who is desperate to see a ring on her finger, Chupplejeep is feeling the pressure.

I hope that Under The Coconut Tree will not only be an entertaining read, but it will also give the reader a glimpse into rural Goan life. I grew up in Goa and so I hold this place close to my heart.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I like to put a fresh spin on topical themes. In my last novel, The Bittersweet Vine, I focused on the rare phenomena of hysterical amnesia and Goa Traffic concentrated on child trafficking. As well as providing escapism for the reader, I like to make the reader think what they would do in a similar situation to the protagonist.

Why do I write what I do?

I grew up on detective fiction from Nancy Drew to Point Horror. Now I love novels full of suspense such as those written by Sophie Hannah. I also love Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Series which I took inspiration from for the Chupplejeep Mysteries. I enjoy writing what I would like to read. For me a book should be pure escapism, where the story transports the reader to a different world and takes them on a roller-coaster of a ride through a multitude of emotions.

How does your writing process work?

I love writing and I hate editing. So as soon as I finish a first draft I usually get an idea for another book. I usually scribble down a rough plot-line (in about 20 bullet points) and then have to use every ounce of willpower not to start writing the next book. I use the plot-line described above as I go, and of course it changes as I write. The further I get into the plot, the less I refer to the plot-line bullets, but I know if I get stuck I have something to refer to. Generally the end result is wildly different to what I had first imagined. Mostly this is because the characters take on their own personalities and pull me in different directions. At some point mid-manuscript I draw a little spider diagram with the protagonist in the middle and all the relationships plotted out around them. This way I can clearly see the way the characters interact with each other. I also add motivations and any major characterisation to it, which makes for an easy reference tool.

Editing is laborious as my first drafts are terrible. I usually have at least three edits before the manuscript is in a readable state. Sometimes I’ll go through and just check dialogue or characterisation on an edit and forget everything else. Other times I do a ‘deep clean’ edit and examine each chapter to within an inch of its life. As you can probably tell from this post my grammar is shocking! I have a million grammar books. It just doesn't sink in. Next on my to-do list is to complete a course in grammar. Because of this I usually have to get a proof reader to look through my work before I send it out.

I work full time so finding time to write can be difficult. I usually set myself deadlines by when I need to finish certain drafts so that I keep the momentum going. I finish work slightly earlier on a Wednesday and so most of my writing is done then. But mostly I snatch and hour where I can, because a Wednesday evening is never enough!

Thanks for stopping by! Continue with the tour on the blogs of these lovely writers (see below) next week!


Martin Lastrapes

Martin Lastrapes is a best-selling novelist whose debut novel, Inside the Outside, won the Grand Prize in the 2012 Paris Book Festival. 

You can see his writing process here:

Tim Arnot

Tim Arnot claims to remember the Sixties, although that almost certainly means he wasn't there. In his defense though, he does claim to have been very small. He had a college education from which he spectacularly failed to get any qualifications at all. But that didn't stop him from going on to be a successful writer of programs for computers and apps for iThings (if you buy a train ticket in the UK from one of those touchy-feely machines, there’s a good chance that Tim wrote the software inside it – unless it screwed up, in which case it was someone else).

At school, his teachers described him as "Quite good at English."

Tim lives in Oxfordshire with his kindle and a collection of iThings.

You can see Tim’s writing process here:

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