How do I write? #amwriting

A common question writers debate amongst themselves is do you write linear or not. Is it better for a writer to start at the beginning and move through the story to the end, or go to the part of the book that appeals most and start from there?

Ebook coverNow, I would say I’m a linear writer. I have an outline, I know the roots of my story and the outcome at the end. It’s easy, just begin at chapter one and … Except, I don’t really know my characters. What if I can’t find their voices or one character refuses to settle down? I know, it’s crazy, but authors have these voices in our heads and they can be quite independent. For The Last Thing She Said, I had to evoke the life of three sisters, including twins, meaning three personalities – what a challenge after my last book where I primarily focused on one voice.

To overcome this possibility, I wrote a passage in each character’s voice from somewhere in the book, just to make sure I knew them and had their voices in my head. It snowballed, and I ended up writing each of their parts as separate narratives, then rearranged them according to the plot. It wasn’t quite what I had planned!

The other concern I had was in critical scenes where the plot evolves dramatically or changes direction. What if those just didn’t go as I planned? I abandoned chapter two and wrote something much further along in the story. This scene had to work or else that character would not live on the pages of my book. Again, I broke with the linear writing definition and jumped into the book three-quarters of the way in. Then I danced back to the middle and wrote another crucial scene, before finally settling back at the beginning. Then I jiggled everything around so the middle became the beginning and… okay, it’s not linear at all.

If asked again by a writers’ group – do I write linear style or not – frankly, I don’t know. It depends on the book, and the great thing about writing … no two books are the same. I’m writing my third at the moment, and that too is going its own particular way.

A magical real world

There’s nothing more exciting and satisfying than seeing you book appear on Amazon. As it sells, which thankfully is happening for my books, I’m wondering who is buying my book and why. Books on Amazon are categorised and appear on lists which are linked to people’s reading habits. So where a book is categorised can have a significant impact on its future sales.

Both of my books are Women’s Fiction; they feature the lives of women and the category is generally marketed to female readers. I also consider my books to fall under the umbrella of Magical Realism, a small genre that is invisible on Amazon’s UK listings, although it is there behind the scenes. (Amazon US has a different approach to categories.)

I’ve always been a reader in this genre, long before I knew what it is was called. The stories told are anchored in the real world, whether historical or contemporary, and into it, the writer overlays something extraordinary. The author, Isabel Allende, is my strongest influence with her House of Spirits, which I read as a teenager, and The City of Beasts. The magical part of the story isn’t fantasy, like Tolkien or Pratchett, and it should be described in such a way that it integrates with the familiar real world a reader would know. Unlike Fantasy novels, writing Magical Realism isn’t world building or elaborate in its set-up. I simply injected something supernatural and made it part of the real world. In The Last Thing She Said, the sisters have gifts, and one of them would consider hers to be far from normal. How will she cope with it? And what impact will it have on her life?

The challenge of writing in this genre is not to get carried away with the magical aspects, just allow them to blend into the story, and focus on the reality, the things readers will recognise—the relationship between the sisters, their ambitions and need for love in their lives. In hindsight, the magical elements were the least of my worries; making the realism part work was far more important to the story.

 

Blog Tour Day 7 – a conversation

It’s the final day of the book tour week, and this week has certainly whizzed by. So my final three bloggers, last by no means least, include another extract from The Last Thing She Said.

Mixing Reality with Fiction – Review

The Divine Write – Review

Ali- The Dragon Slayer – A conversation between two sisters on different sides of an ocean.

 

With the tour wrapping up today, I’d like to give a big thank you to all the book bloggers and reviewers who’ve given up the time to help me, especially tour organiser, Rachel. @rararesources, at Rachel’s Random Resources.

Don’t miss out on the giveaway prize- a free copy of The Women of Heachley Hall is on offer to a lucky winner – follow the link.

 

Do you like to read about free chapters and short stories, or find out more about your favourite author including their work in progress?

Interested? Then sign up for my reader’s club newsletter: Rachel’s Readers and you’ll receive a complementary short story.

Blog Tour Day 6 – Love and Romance

The penultimate day of my book tour! There’s still much I want to tell you about the book, but I don’t want to ruin the plot. My guest post goes a little way to anwer some of those questions about the story, but not too much I hope.

Mai’s Musings – Review

Laura’s Interests – Review

Jazzy Book Reviews – a guest post on love and romance. Will any of the three sisters find happiness and does romance feature in the book?

Don’t miss out on the giveaway prize- a free copy of The Women of Heachley Hall is on offer to a lucky winner – follow the link.

 

Do you like to read about free chapters and short stories, or find out more about your favourite author including their work in progress?

Interested? Then sign up for my reader’s club newsletter: Rachel’s Readers and you’ll receive a complementary short story.

Blog Tour Day 5 – Read an extract

Do you need to read a passage to help you make up your mind? I know when I’m looking at books on Amazon I wish I could see inside, and not just the opening chapters. When I’m in a bookshop, I thumb through a paperback and pick a few pages at random to get a feel for the writing. It’s not the same on a Kindle. So today if you’re following my blog tour, you’ll get a chance to read an extract of The Last Thing She Said.

Dash Fan Book Reviews – Review

Ellesea Loves Reading – Rebecca rarely steps out of her house. Find out what happens when she does.

Jessica Rachow – Review

Don’t miss out on the giveaway prize- a free copy of The Women of Heachley Hall is on offer to a lucky winner – follow the link.

 

Do you like to read about free chapters and short stories, or find out more about your favourite author including their work in progress?

Interested? Then sign up for my reader’s club newsletter: Rachel’s Readers and you’ll receive a complementary short story.

Blog Tour Day 4 – Two reviews and a guest post.

Today I’m visiting some wonderfully named book bloggers. I would like to think my book is devilishly delicious, especially as it opens with a chocolate birthday cake and a quirky ritual involving blowing out a solitary candle.

Devilishly Delicious Book Review – Review

Splashes into Books – Review

Nemesis Book Blog – Guest post on how I wrote The Last Thing She Said

 

Don’t miss out on the giveaway prize- a free copy of The Women of Heachley Hall is on offer to a lucky winner – follow the link.

 

Do you like to read about free chapters and short stories, or find out more about your favourite author including their work in progress?

Interested? Then sign up for my reader’s club newsletter: Rachel’s Readers and you’ll receive a complementary short story.

Blog Tour Day 3 – How do I write?

Once again I’m off gallivanting around the country, and the world. I’m taking my book, The Last Thing She Said, to The Netherlands, Ohio, where part of the book is set, and Bristol, where I happily lived for several years as a student.

B for Bookreview – a Q&A about how I write!

Travel to Recovery

Book Babble – Review

 

Do you like to read about free chapters and short stories, or find out more about your favourite author including their work in progress?

Interested? Then sign up for my reader’s club newsletter: Rachel’s Readers and you’ll receive a complementary short story.

Blog Tour Day 2 – the continuing voyages of an author

I’m excited that my book, The Last Thing She Said, has managed to cross not one sea, but two.  I’m visiting Europe and America.  A big thanks to these book bloggers and reviewers for take the time to review and host my book.

A few chapters of the book are set in the farming communities of Ohio, so I’m intrigued what readers over in the US think of my portrayal of rural life.

In de Boekenkas – Review

Rev. Rebecca Writes: Read, Write, Pray – Review and Q&A including a question on how to write about playing an musical instrument.

Stardust Book Review – Review

 

 

Do you like to read about free chapters and short stories, or find out more about your favourite author including their work in progress?

Interested? Then sign up for my reader’s club newsletter: Rachel’s Readers and you’ll receive a complementary short story.

Blog Tour Day 1. Come meet the book bloggers

I’m excited to be setting out today on a book tour featuring The Last Thing She Said.  It’s a seven day amble, taking in book bloggers and reviewers, and I’m delighted they have offered to host me on their websites. A big thank you to everyone helping me promote my new book.

Today I’m visiting …

Trail of Tales  – review

The Magic of Wor(l)ds – Featuring a guest post on Magical Realism

Herding Cat – Review

I hope you find the time to stop by and join us.

AMAZON