Friday, 18 October 2013

Partial Drafts

I thought I'd talk about the approach to writing I currently favour for my own writing. When I'm ghosting, things differ a little, because I'm looking to work from a chapter by chapter outline produced either by the client to show me what they want, or by me to make sure that I've understood what the client wants.

For my own stuff though, I have it in my head that I'm a pantser. I'm not, but I like to think that I am because several of my favourite authors seem to be. But I'm not really a full plotter either. I find that can get in the way of the spontaneity I want.

So what I find I do is I write thirty or forty thousand words and then I stop, trying to work out where I'm up to. I look through the scenes and the ideas and then I go back to plan out the whole novel. The part I have tells me where my imagination really wants to go, but I'm still in a position to plan it and re work it to make it what it needs to be.

One of the big questions I find myself asking is 'what is this really about?' What are my themes? How can I make it all relate more to those themes. In Court of Dreams, I took a lot of disparate ideas and tied them to concepts of duty and family. In my novel The Glass (which I plan on putting out myself) I took a few standard paranormal ideas and tied them into a bigger question about responsibility and humanity. Currently, I'm writing one, and I realised that actually, my plot didn't connect to my main character's central problem that well. So I was in a position to go back and change it before I'd written the whole thing.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


I am a number of American women writing romance. I'm a Kurdish man with a memoir to sell. An Irish comedy writer. A US based blogger and internet specialist. An Australian or two. A number of English martial arts and self protection experts.

Which is to say that I've written things for people matching all those descriptions. I won't go into any more detail, because that would be wrong given the nature of my job, but I wanted to give you the vaguest sense of the scope of the people I've worked for at various points.

Why? Because I want to make a point about voice. About individuality. About the fact that no one has questioned whether they have ghost writers or not. No one has said that the finished pieces don't read like them. Certainly, no one has ever said "you know, these books read more like that minor English chap no one has heard of than like X".

I'd like to be able to take credit for that. I'd like to be able to say that I can mimic a client's voice perfectly when I write, so that no one ever knows the difference. And there is a little bit of that. But honestly? It's only a little bit. Another bit of it is probably that clients see samples of my work before they hire me, so there's a chance for them to pick me because I match their voice, but again, that's only a little bit of the answer.

Rather more of it seems to be that people make a bit much of voice. We're individual as writers, certainly. We have patterns of writing and little elements that are ours. We have ways of telling stories. But do we really believe that we're so individual that no one else will ever write like us? That if we put another name on it, people would instantly work it out? People worry so much about getting their voice right, but surely if I can be a voice that fits with all these different people, the voice you have is going to be fine for... well, you?

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


So here we are with another IWSG. I'm feeling insecure about two or three writerly things this month, so here goes:

  • The imminent (by which I mean tomorrow) release of the Second Avenue Second Hand anthology, which obviously brings with it the need to plug the anthology wherever I can, so there's now a marketing phase for me to get on with in the middle of other things.
  • Cover art. The cover artist I was going to use for my novel 'The Glass' has fallen through, pretty much disappearing off the face of the Earth, so now I need to find another one whose work I like in my budget. Or I may just ask the one person I suspect may be way outside my budget, just to see what happens.
  • Editing. I sent it to friends who are editors for developmental editing, and I'm reasonably sure it's good, but even so, common sense dictates another round of nitpicky line editing while there's time. I don't suppose anyone in need of editing for their work fancies a swap?
  • I'm waiting for clients on two ghostwriting projects to get back to me with stuff, which means things are quiet now, but I can't let myself go hunting after more work, because they will be back to me by next week and it will go crazy. I've had moments when I've been writing four things at once before.
  • Oh, and I'm currently twenty thousand words into an urban fantasy thing that I'm pantsing. Which, given that I don't really write that way and I don't do UF anymore is a bit weird.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Book Trailer

Continuing the build up to the Second Avenue Second Hand anthology, Wendy Tyler Ryan has done a book trailer. To have a look at it, go over to her blog, here.