Monday, 3 March 2014

My Writing Process

There’s a new meme doing the rounds and this is it. I was tagged by Natasha Ngan, author of the fabulous The Elites, and challenged to answer a few questions about my writing. So here goes…

1. What am I working on?

I have a new project on the go but at this stage I don’t really want to say too much about it. Suffice to say it’s another children’s book, set in a place near where I grew up, but inspired by some strange happenings near where I live now.

2. How does my work differ from others?

I think what makes my work a bit different is the fact that I come from a scientific background. Most of my stories tend towards science fiction in some form or other and I like to keep any science in them plausible. Worryingly the flooded world of Red Rock is turning out to be just a bit too plausible for comfort!

3. Why do I write what I do?

Before I settled on writing for children I dabbled with a few different genres, but then I rediscovered children’s literature through having kids of my own. It was wonderful to meet old friends and to discover some of the amazing authors who have emerged since I was a kid myself.  I knew then that this was the audience I wanted to write for.

But one thing which always frustrated me as a kid was that it was always boys having the really good adventures. That’s why I created Danni. Girls can have adventures too.

4. How does my writing process work?

I keep a notebook where I scribble down ideas as they occur to me, and every so often some of the jottings coalesce and start to grow into something bigger.

When I first started writing I used to sit down and let my characters and story lead me, but now I’m more disciplined. I start with a pitch, a few short paragraphs that summarise the main thrust of the story, what the main motivation is and how it will end. I always need to know where I’m heading. I find that this helps me keep the story focussed.

From there I build an outline, a page of so of bullet points that give me the broad structure of the story. This isn’t set in stone but evolves as I write.

And then I start scribbling. I’m one of those people who go for the dirty first draft. I get the story down and leave myself notes for the things I need to come back to. It’s a bit like forming a rough shape out of a lump of clay. Once I have this I can start to sculpt, cutting away, adding bits here and there, until I can’t see anything else to change. That’s when I know it is ready to head off out into the world.

And now it is my turn to tag someone – I tag….

Charlotte Otter

Susan Roebuck


  1. Thanks Kate! I'll do my best :-) I agree, writing for you is like forming a shape out of clay. For me it's like dabbing paint on top of paint on a painting (then wiping it all off!)

    1. I'm looking forward to seeing your answers, Sue. And I do like that painting analogy - except for the wiping it all off bit! ;-)


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