FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Where do I get my ideas? (The question guaranteed to make most writers scream or be sarcastic!).
I began knowing I wanted to write about an awkward but honourable and courageous woman with a secret. Not any old secret either - being a fairy godmother is not something to be drawn to public attention when you’re living away from the world you’re supposed to be on. I knew I wanted her to have a daughter who would later be devastated when her mother’s secret emerged. From there came the idea of how the pair of them would handle their lives falling apart and both knowing their relationship with each other not being the same again. The reason this is such an irritating question is because ideas germinate, they lead to other ideas and the plot emerges. This can take time, years sometimes. Even when I have an idea “out of the blue” and work on it, I usually add ideas to the first one as I go along. There isn’t a simple one line answer to this question which is what most people asking it want. And there are authors inspired to write by other authors, those that want to get a message across, those that want to “restore balance” between popular fiction and the literary variety so where do they get their ideas from?!!! (Oh and what’s wrong with popular fiction anyway?!).
How many drafts do I write?
It depends on what I’m writing. I draft at least three copies of each novel. Short stories I tend to write to screen, edit on screen, then print it out and do a final edit on paper before putting in the amendments and sending the item. I tend to treat the on paper edit as the final one. The important thing to remember is there is no magic number here. Some authors will edit as they go so don’t need to redraft. Others will only redraft once. You need to find what works for you.
What is your favourite stage of writing?
I enjoy all stages though I admit there is always a sense of relief once the first draft is prepared. I know I’ve got something to work with then. I enjoy editing and “feeling” my story become tighter, stronger. But it’s also nice to print out the final version! Having said that be aware once you get your MSS out there, and assuming you’re lucky enough to be accepted by agent or publisher (or ideally both!), there’ll be more work to do on your precious script. I can’t think of any publishing house that doesn’t’ want changes somewhere!