Last Saturday, I met fellow author Anna Bloom in London as we walked the queue that appears in our co-write Meet Queue-t (out in December). As we sat in Victoria Palace Gardens (pic below) where the final zig-zag queue took place, we were discussing how we both write, and how different we work.
For Anna, she described correcting her work and polishing it as she went along. Whereas for me, my words come out like a stream of word vomit, sometimes so fast I can barely get it out of my head and onto the page fast enough. The next day I review the words I wrote the day before and correct them before starting that day's words.
At the moment I'm writing two books at once, switching from Sam in London, to the world of Gnarly Fell and the next Sucking Dead Book, Just My Suck, which is also out in December. I've also been writing Acting Cupid, the next Supernatural Dating Agency book which for now, I've pressed pause on until these current two are complete.
As I sat this morning writing grumpy man Sam, I decided today's blog post would shed some light into how I work between projects and what my mental processes are, giving you, the reader, an insight into how the books you read begin life on a page.
All stories appear in my head like a movie. I see the characters as clear as day and the world they live in, just as if I was watching it on a small screen, and I can flip from one movie to another in no time. I've always seen my books this way. Before I ever wrote a word of Underneath, I'd built the movie up in my head on the bus on my way to work every morning.
It used to be that I'd have notebooks filled with scenes and character development. As time has gone on and my writing experience has grown, I write down very little now, mainly timeline things, though I do make a book bible spreadsheet for longer series like Gnarly so I can easily see what someone looks like. No matter how much you write in a book bible though, with series, you do end up flicking back through past books on the hunt for what sarcastic comment they said last etc. So when I'm writing a series, there'll be the past books in reach on my coffee table desk (I usually work from my sofa to the annoyance of my other half because upstairs I have an absolutely gorgeous office).
When I begin writing, I AM THE CHARACTERS and I"M WHERE THEY ARE. It's why I end up getting very frustrated if Den and Adam are at home, or the phone rings, or a delivery comes because every time I'm pulled out of that flow state it's hard to get back into it. I'm no longer me when I'm in a creative flow and letting the words come through and pour out. This morning has been perfect. Completely quiet, Bella the Whippet lying contented beside me on the sofa (pic below-spot the dog hiding in the blanket lol) and me able to enter Sam's mind (currently in a nightclub wondering what the hell he's doing there and about to see the girl from the queue again - hurrah) as if that very situation has really just happened in an alternate universe in my head. I can be so in the flow sometimes that when I read words back I can't remember writing them. Alas, this perfection is not usually the case. It's usually 400 words, Den talks about something from the news. Another 200 the doorbell goes, etc etc.
Now Sam is done and ready for Anna to write Queenie's POV and move the romance on further, and I'm ready to return to Gnarly. I'll re-read what I wrote yesterday but it's like the characters are now sitting there in my mind, their door opened and they're not-so-patiently waiting to tell me the next part of their story.
So that's what in my head is like and why at any given moment in time when you speak to me it might take me a moment to realise I'm in the real world. Because all these books I've written (70+) and all the ones waiting to come (soooo many in my head, from fragments to full stories), are living in separate compartments in my head. My mind is a dormitory of stories.
I can however close the door on all of it when real life is happening. Shut down the imagination and bring my focus to real life. Be mindful of where I am (unless it's the shower when I usually end up daydreaming.)
I hope you've enjoyed this insight into the crazy world of my brain and my storytelling. I'll share more another time.
Pre-order Meet Queue-t now: https://geni.us/MeetQueue-t
Pre-order Just My Suck here: https://geni.us/justmysuck