Writing Process

Write What You Know

Nightmares. It doesn’t matter how old you get, they never stop getting at you.

According to Wikipedia:

“A nightmare is an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror but also despair, anxiety and great sadness. The dream may contain situations of danger, discomfort, psychological or physical terror.”

I had a nightmare a week or so ago and woke with all the usual sensations. The sick feeling from adrenalin flowing, unused, through my blood. A lingering feeling of despair and fear and loneliness ebbing away slowly as I realised I was awake and the nightmare was over. My first thought as I turned over to go back to sleep was: “I need to write this down.”

You know you are a writer when you want to write down and remember as much as you can about your nightmares instead of allow them to fade away from your memory. As I write mostly horror and scary stuff, I thought it would be a great idea to write down the thoughts and feeling I get upon waking, so I can work on replicating them. As a spin off from the initial exploration, I wrote a poem called Nightmares. I wasn’t looking to describe the sensations but to instil something close to that feeling into the reader.

I think I did a fairly good job, if the first comment to pop up on that post was anything to go by:

“I just got goosebumps in broad daylight.”

Another piece of feedback I get said:

“Hey, I like that – I feel a bit sad reading it and vulnerable however isn’t that what a nightmare is?”

Nailed it!

When new writers are told to “write what you know” it can sometimes confuse them. After all, who knows about monsters and magic and evil people on a murderous rampage?

This is what they mean. This is writing about what I know. I may have never faced anything murderous or monstrous during the waking hours, but I have faced them in my nightmares. I know what it is like to run with all my strength to get away from a monster behind me, but never manage to reach that next damned lamppost. I know what it is like to wake up after hiding from ghostly Greek Gladiators in the ruins of a colosseum. Those feelings and emotions are real. They are what I know. So I will write about them and make the things I don’t know feel so much more real for those who read it.

I will also continue to keep a notebook by my bed so I can write down my thoughts and feelings about my dreams and nightmares. If I have to dream about icky scary stuff, then I sure as hell am going to make sure I get something good out of it.

Writing Process Blog Tour

 

Hello! I have been asked to write this post for the Writing Process Blog Tour by the lovely Kate Loveton. (My apologies for being slightly late.) Kate has this fantastic description of herself on her blog that says:

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I’m a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are ‘Once upon a time… ‘

If you haven’t already taken a peek at her blog, then you can find it here.

Before I get to answering the questions given to me about my writing, There was another part of the deal. Nominate three other writers to also write a post about their own writing process.

Writer Number 1 is the fabulous Bethanie Hardie from the UK who has two blogs on the go. She has her usual blog here, and also a second blog where she posts diary entries from the point of view of the main character in her ‘An Immortal In London’ Series. She’s left-handed and proud of it (as all lefties should be; we are the best.), she’s a law student, and she runs a business with her fiancé. Thats a heck of a lot to be getting on with but she seems to handle it all magnificently. To find out more about Bethanie, take a look at her blogs, and make sure to check out her blog post.

Writer Number 2 is the blonde haired beauty, writing from Germany, H. M. Brooks. This lady claims to love writing over talking, and maybe even over reading too. She has been writing since she was eight (She wrote a story about a girl called Chelsea), with more focus on writing from the age of fourteen. She has recently celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday. You can find her blog here.

These ladies will be posting on (or around) the 19th May.

Writer Number 3 is technically someone else’s victim as she has already posted her Writing Process post, and I am cheating slightly by including her on my post. Unfortunately pretty much all the other writers I follow seem to have already posted too. American writer E. B. Thompson’s twitter profile describes her as a “Reader, Writer, Dreamer and unashamed nerd”. Her book ‘Starling’ was published on January 1st 2014. You can check out her blog (and her Writing Process post) here.

So! Onto the questions. I have never had more trouble answering questions in all my life. I feel like I should have studied for this first. Anyway:

What am I working on at the moment?

Well I started writing a short story for the creative writing course I am studying. I had to write a 1,500-ish word short story and make sure I had all the points I had just learned in the previous module. In my own typical style, my story escalated. Apparently I ‘lack discipline’. My short story became a not so short story with 6,500-ish words at the end of draft 1. Since then I have extended it to just over 12,000 words. That’s not a short story, that’s a Novella! Oops! That is now in the stages of editing, finding plot holes and fixing errors (there’s bound to be loads) and generally tidying it up. It’s with a critique partner at the moment. I am taking this quite a bit more seriously than I ever thought I would this quickly. I am also researching for an up-coming joint project with another writer which I am pretty excited about. I have been reliably informed that you can never have too many projects. On top of that I try to come up with at least one post a week for my blog so I don’t leave all my lovely readers hanging. And I have a few half formed plotlines in my notebook for other stories I could be writing already if I wasn’t so good at procrastinating all the time. Ooh! A butterfly! Preeeettyyyyy…

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

This is really hard for me to answer because I don’t think I know yet. I have only been writing since January after starting a creative writing course. “Ooh look! Amazon Local has a creative writing course. That sounds like something that could relieve my intense boredom. Let’s give that a go.” I never imagined I would be blogging, making friends and getting myself over 60 followers in just a few (what feels like very short) months, let alone have a novella on the go!

I also haven’t really fully settled into any particular genre. My writing tends to lean towards Horror, Psychological Thrillers, and Fantasy, but I can’t help adding my sarcastic sense of humour into almost everything I do. The quick comedic comment cutting through the suspense adds a little shock all of its own, and sarcasm is a character trait I admire so I like my characters to use a little wit whenever they can.

Why do I write what I do?

When I first started writing, it was just about the course. I very quickly realised that my stories tend to revolve around something very personal: Feelings. Most of my stories are about different feelings and how people deal with what they feel. Loss, love, loneliness, attraction, fear, hatred. The feelings are the theme that runs through my stories, more than a specific event. Basically, everyone has ‘issues’. They are often the same, just experienced in different ways. I like to explore these experiences in my fiction and lets face it; writing stories sure beats sitting in front of some stranger who’s asking you “How does that make you feel?” I am honoured that you all enjoy reading my work and sharing in the little snippets of me that I leave in each piece.

How does my writing process work?

The first thing my creative writing course taught me, was the importance of a writing process. It is important that I write every day, so that I get into the habit. It also taught me to have a particular place to write so that I know when I am in that place, that I should be writing. I have a number of notebooks which I keep with me so I can write down anything that inspires me or takes my fancy, and I do write almost every day. Almost, because sometimes I like to go out and pretend to have a social life. I don’t really have a place to write. I am at my dining table right now, but sometimes I will be on my sofa, or, more often than not, in my bedroom, cross legged on my bed, getting sore shoulders because I am slouching. I know, I am a very bad girl and I need to look after myself better (aka get a desk). My bedroom is my sanctuary. I write nonsense, look at pictures, go for walks, people watch and write things about random people I find in cafe’s and shops until I stumble on something I want to explore, then I will write about that. That is how I first came up with the plot for my Novella and all the other half formed stories in my notebook.

So that’s it. Thanks for stopping by to read my baffled wafflings. Make sure to keep a look out for the posts belonging to my first two nominees and take a look at all the blogs I have linked. I promise it will be worth your while.

Naomi