Saturday, 22 December 2012

Moving on ...

I was hoping to have my new thriller Paying the Piper out for Christmas. Sadly that's not going to be the case - way too much editing work required, but I want it to be the best it can possibly be, so I'm not rushing; it will be out just as soon as it's ready and I can move on. I'm living in a weird literary limbo right now and I can't quite bring myself to drop this particular ball - I'm not a good enough juggler to manage several projects at once.

But it's given me time to reflect on other stuff. After over 17 years in our lovely Cheshire cottage, we're thinking of selling up next year and moving on. I've never lived this long in one place before and I'll be sad to leave, but it's the right time to downsize, especially if we want to fund daughter's continued stage career! I'm open to anything property-wise and the internet is an amazing tool - where would we be without Last time we did all this, it was paper-based, getting sent house details in the post and buying property newspapers. I think we'll stay local but whether it will be old house or new build, estate or not, project or ready-to-live-in, I have no idea. Exciting times! So long as I have a study of sorts, I'll be fine.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Heart and Soul

As I've said before - on this blog and others - it's not write what you know but know what you write. And to do that, you have to live your story, engage with your characters, become the people in whose lives you are interfering when you drop crises on them like bombs and expect them to deal with it. So don't you owe it to your characters to suffer with them?

A big 6 editor once told me that my street-kid Lee sounded way too educated. In reality, she said, he'd be at best poorly-educated with a limited vocabulary and wouldn't necessarily have the words or emotional maturity to deal with situations the way I'd written. She had a point. When I stepped back, I realised that Lee was speaking with my voice and while I'd tried to dumb his dialogue down a bit, it clearly wasn't working. It took me a long time to get inside his head and put his own words into his mouth rather than mine. And once you step inside somebody else's skin, even in fiction, you become that person.

As a reader or a writer, to get that emotional connection requires some effort on your own part. It makes you vulnerable when you walk in someone else's shoes, feel what they feel - the good and the bad. It can make for an amazing experience. But you leave something of yourself behind every time.