Sarra Manning, [and yes, that is how she spells it] an author of eleven YA books who has recently published her first adult novel, was interviewed in the Sunday Supplements this week on the subect of writing a novel. What she had to say about the craft was interesting. I paraphrase here as the article is too long to include everything.
SM-There is no such thing as writer's block
She describes it as self doubt, nerves or sheer can't-be-botheredness, and advises writers to simply type through the pain.
ME - Tried that – and I end up with three thousand words of gibberish that gets edited out in the next session. As for the lazy aspect – well of course I am, or I wouldn’t spend my life on the sofa at my laptop – I’d have a paying job!
SM-Your house will become immaculate:
Ms Manning contends she uses housework as a diversionary tactic to solving the plot crisis in a chapter.
ME - Nope – I simply switch to blogging, forums, critique group or playing ‘Pharaoh’ and pretend the dust bunnies are no bigger than they were yesterday.
SM-Everyone will tell you about Trollop's work ethic:
That he wrote for three hours a day and if he finished a book with five minutes to spare he'd start the next one. People will trot out this anecdote and criticise your less industrious ways - but that Trollop didn't have the distractions of Facebook!
ME - See item above.....
SM - You’ll put on weight:
Because writing is solitary and sedentary occupation.
ME - Tell me about it!
SM - Writers’ groups are an unnecessary evil:
Editors warn their clients to stay away from them and to resist showing your work to anyone until it’s finished. E.g. If you are writing chick-lit, why would it matter if a sixty year old man who has papered his flat with rejection slips has a major problem with your plot?
ME - I can see the point in that – but I wouldn’t be without my critique group. When I submit the chapter I have agonised over for days as to whether the protagonist’s love crisis was credible or not, they come back and ask, ‘Didn’t she have green eyes in the last chapter?’
SM - Writing the book is the easy part:
The really hard stuff like finding an agent, getting a deal and obsessing over your Amazon sales rating - is tougher.
ME - There isn’t an author I know who wouldn’t agree with that!
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