So Danny Rhodes, author of the excellent Fan, asked me to contribute to the Writing Process Blog Tour. I don’t know much about it, but writer after writer answer the same four questions. Here are the questions. Here are my answers…
What am I currently working on?
I’ve just finished, and dispatched to my agent, a fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian thriller for the so-called YA audience. I’m about to start writing a detective novel.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’ve mostly written horror, but they’re fast-moving and action-packed. Horror appears to me to be traditionally quite sluggish. Some horror writers spend an age piling on the adjectives and adverbs, thinking up different words for ‘dark’. I try to keep the story moving, very, very quickly. I don’t waste time on long, descriptive passages telling the reader how menacing a house looks. I get the characters inside the house and show them how menacing it is.
Why do I write what I do?
I wrote horror initially because I loved the genre as a youngster. But I also like action thrillers and fast-paced stories. I combined horror stories and the thriller framework. Really pacy stories. Gory, full of violence, very grown-up. I really enjoyed TV serials when I was growing up. They used to show stuff like Flash Gordon with Buster Crabbe. It was old, very old, but I loved the cliff-hangers at the end of each episode. I attempt that with my stories. I want to be on the edge of my seat when I read a book. I try to do that when I write my own, too. I think, to be succinct, I write what I write because I like reading it.
How does my writing process work?
I had an eight-book contract, and tied myself to writing two books a year. In order to do that, I had to be disciplined. So I developed this specific routine, which I use to this day. I set myself targets. I work out how long I have to write a book. Say six months. It’ll be an 80,000 word book, at least. I set myself a target of 8,000 words a week. Weekly targets are more achievable than daily ones. If I write 8,000 words a week, and working from a vague outline, I’ll have the first draft finished in 10 weeks. When I’m writing the first draft, I don’t stop to correct anything, I just write and write. After that’s done, I take a week off. Then I go back and do a pass of the first draft, cleaning things up. And I keep doing this until I have a decent manuscript. I’ve written about my routine in a book called How To Write A Novel In 6 Months.
… so there it is; hope you enjoyed.