Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Approaching the writing process

A few weekends ago I was in Nottingham for the BookCrossing UK UnConvention 2011. During the event we heard three authors speak about their books and their writing. What struck me the most, however, was the enormous differences in the way they approched the writing process.

Eve Makis (author of Eat, Drink and Be Married) told us that she cannot really plan where her books are going. She gets a very vague idea, works her way inside the head of the story-teller character and then writes. She often uses real people as the basis for her characters, as she feels that she knows them, better. She never really knows where her books are going and likes the way that she discovers what is happening along with those she is writing about. She writes what she enjoys.

Stephen Booth (crime novalist) talked a lot about how he visits police stations for ideas. His focus is on the interaction between people and he likes to use quirky incidents from real life.

Catherine Cooper (author of The Golden Acorn) collects ideas in notebooks. She uses other people's images, folk-lore and places as inspiration. Her writing seemed to be more methodical and planned that that of the other two. She stressed the importance of always asking herself questions about her character's motives and what was behind their actions. She was also writing for a clear purpose- to get boys into reading.

So, I wondered, which of these approaches do you most associate with?
Do you think it matters what sort of book you are writing?