The Orchid

The Orchid

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Why Do We Do It?

Why do people write? Why do I write? I get asked this quite often and it's a hard one to answer. It certainly isn't for the money! There's very little reward for writing and if I cover the cost of my printer ink and expenses in the year, I consider myself to be doing well. You have more chance of winning the lottery then having a top selling book. 

I work almost 30 hours a week in a demanding job and am a single mother to two children. I don't take a lunch break to fit my hours in, so I can get back for the school collections. Evenings are spent helping with homework, cooking, clearing up, washing, refereeing arguments.  When my eldest is finally in bed, I make a coffee, switch on the laptop and write until 11 pm. I don't eagerly sit down to work, I have to make myself do it as I'm pretty shattered by this point, but except for the rare night off, it's what I do every day. 

Most writers, except for the very successful, work this way, holding down other jobs and juggling family commitments. So why do we do it? For me, it's the writing itself. That feeling you get when you click with your book and suddenly you're with your characters, feeling everything they feel and living their lives. It's pure escapism and is what gives me the drive to continue. I couldn't not write as it's too much part of me. Writing has got me through some very difficult times in my life and while there have been periods when I've been tempted to stop, I know I never will. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Bath Children's Novel Award

Busy this week polishing my entry for the Bath Children's Novel award, which I have been given the go-ahead to enter after checking with the organisers.

I'm entering my new story, a children's time travel novel covering from Roman Britain to World War II. I haven't written children's novels before, so don't expect to get short-listed, but a long-listing would be sufficient to give me the boost to start sending the book off to agents. I'm now racing ahead to get the manuscript completed in case it does get requested. Is anyone else entering? Let me know and we'll wait together for the long-list to be published! 

Children's writing is quite different to adults, it's not just as simple as using shorter words. Children generally lack the skill to pick up the subtle hints in a book regarding expression or character's feelings, so the usual maxim of 'show don't tell,' isn't so relevant. When you're writing for young people, 'telling,' is allowed, as long as it's carefully done. The first two J.K. Rowling books contained quite a bit of telling, which is noticeably missing from her later works, which were aimed at older readers. 

In other writing news, Beloved Enemy, my medieval romance was released this week by My Weekly and is currently on supermarkets shelves. Lovely to see a book published and the editors at My Weekly have done a marvelous job with the edits and cover art.