- Email me
- Nail Your Novel: books
- FAQ: I’m a new writer: which book should I read first?
- FREE Nail Your Novel Instant Fix: 100 Tips For Fascinating Characters
- My writing process: the picture tour
- Nail Your Novel: A Companion Workbook
- Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and how you can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence
- Reviews of Nail Your Novel
- Who’s tweeting about Nail Your Novel …
- Writing Characters Who’ll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel
- Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart: Nail Your Novel
- Who am I?
Posts Tagged Writer Unboxed
My guest this week says she was a singer long before she was a writer, and when she started writing, music was a natural place to find story inspiration. She writes a series of novels based around the members of a book club, and many of the titles and characters come from tracks that have been special to her. I took unashamed pleasure in seeing Icicle Works and Peter Gabriel make an appearance – the latter with Sinead O’Connor (gasp). And one of her books was inspired by a track by Indigo Girls, which talks about reincarnation and the soul reinventing – possibly a familiar idea to longtime visitors here. Anyway, she is award-winning journalist and contemporary women’s fiction author Karen Wojcik Berner and she’s on the Red Blog with her Undercover Soundtrack.
5th Dimension, A Whisper to a Scream, Bach, Bibliophiles, book club, Chicago Tribune, contemporary fiction, contemporary women's fiction, Fresh Fiction, Hair, hippies, Icicle Works, Indigo Girls, Jim Morrison, Karen Wojcik Berner, melancholy Blood of Eden, My Memories of a Future Life, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, psychedelia, Roz Morris, series of novels, Sinead O'Connor, The 5th Dimension, The Doors, The Indigo Girls, The Undercover Soundtrack, undercover soundtrack, Women Writers, women's fiction, Women's Fiction Writers, Writer Unboxed, writing to music
‘Music summoned from somewhere unknown; secrets and hope’ – The Undercover Soundtrack, Therese Walsh
My guest this week felt daunted when she embarked on her second novel, worried that she didn’t have the mileage to finish. A duo of songs kept her on course, gave her confidence and made her believe in the reality of her characters and their story. And two is a recurring theme as her novel centres around a pair of sisters with damage, strange hearts and unusual senses. As co-founder and editor-in-chief of Writer Unboxed, my guest is well known to thousands of writers interested in the craft and business of fiction; she is Therese Walsh and she’s on the Red Blog with her Undercover Soundtrack. Plus there’s a GIVEAWAY!
Alison Krauss, authors, bluegrass, contemporary fiction, deepen your story, Desert Island Discs, fiction, free book, giveaway, literary fiction, literary novels, Moon Sisters, music, music for writers, music for writing, My Memories of a Future Life, Nail Your Novel, Olivia Moon, playlist for writers, Robert Plant, Roz Morris, second novel, The Moon Sisters, The Undercover Soundtrack, Therese Walsh, undercover soundtrack, Women Writers, women's fiction, Writer Unboxed, writers, writing, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart, writing to music
The other day Porter Anderson at Writer Unboxed examined the popular notion of the lonely writer hammering out a novel in solitude. It provoked some interesting discussions about the way we do our work or accommodate our hobby in a busy life.
Chez Morris there are two writers. With no children. When you’ve read this post you’ll agree that’s for the best.
I realise some of our routines and habits must look peculiar to outsiders. But maybe they’ll also look familiar too – especially if you are similarly afflicted.
1 Zombie face
When we’re both deep in writing, it is hilariously difficult for us to have a conversation. When we do, it’s as if we’re trying to talk over a noisy background of in-head chatter: story problems we didn’t solve and new ideas that are streaming in. The real person on the sofa seems to be at the far end of a tunnel.
2 Random outbreaks of notes
We are drowning in paper. Junk mail and envelopes must be binned immediately or they will start to grow a colony of notes. Once this begins, the notes must stay where they were born and may not be thrown away for months.
The most everyday conversation might trigger a sudden need to scribble. While in the car, Dave (who does not drive and therefore has his hands free) often finds himself instructed, like a secretary, to grab the notebook and take dictation. Of course we have a notebook in the car. Don’t you?
3 Other rooms requisitioned
We each have a study, but sometimes we need a change of scene to refresh, cogitate, read or pace with a busy mind.
Suddenly one of us will find we can’t use the dining table because husband is outlining his screenplay on index cards. Wife starts to rue the day she wrote Nail Your Novel. (But is also amused that husband uses it.)
Our rooms would be 15% bigger if we didn’t have such a book-buying habit. Upside: no need for pictures.
…which leads to
With such a vast book collection, they have to be kept in organised places. Dining room for books on history and exotic locations; bedroom for SF, short stories and poetry; my study for fiction; Dave’s study for comic books, mythology and folklore. This careful organisation is banjaxed when a book is appropriated for a WIP. It will make its way into a mysterious pile whose order must not be disturbed. It might grow a fringe of cryptic Post-It notes saying ‘Anne’s sunrise’ or ‘part 2’. Apocalyptic fall-out if other partner wants to use it too.
6 Inability to make long-term arrangements
When a book is near to boiling point, whether there is an external deadline or not, making plans with friends is impossible. Do we want to go to a concert with x and y in three weeks’ time? Er, don’t know, is the answer, because the WIP seems to fill up everything. Even though when that evening comes we might knock off at 7 and open the wine.
7 Moral support
We both know that writing involves a lot of time despairing that our work is rubbish. And we also know how precious we sound when we agonise about it. And how writing is not truly hard like, say, brain surgery or bomb disposal or counselling traumatised asylum seekers. We know we’re soft and ridiculous.
8 Unflinching critiques
Yes, we critique each other, and the kid gloves are off. They were never on anyway. Dave is used to collaborating with writing partners. I’m used to editing and ghostwriting. We’re both too bothered by rough work to worry about ruffled feathers. So our manuscripts get tough love and there is grumbling. But it’s better to keep mistakes within our walls than let an editor, programme controller or a reader see them.
9 Self-publishing v traditional publishing
We’re from different publishing cultures. Which is interesting. Dave’s written more than 80 books (I had to google that) for traditional publishers and he’s worked for games companies. When he has an idea, he knows how it fits the market and which editors might like it.
Me, I write and then find I don’t fit any commercial editor’s needs. Thus I discovered the culture of entrepreneur indie-writers.
And so we are a curious microcosm. In one room, commercial traditional publishing. In the other, commercially-challenged literary indie. In times of strife, the grass often looks greener.
For instance: when we both launched works of fiction.
With My Memories of a Future Life, I’d have sold my soul for an influential endorsement. When Dave launched his reimagining of Frankenstein with Profile books, he was phoned by the national newspapers, appeared on several BBC radio arts programmes and given a login to blog on the Huffington Post. While I was thrilled to see him get such major attention, there was a bit of green-eyed grousing. Several times he was treated to the speech that went: ‘no matter how good my book is, I could not get a start like that’ etc etc. (A lot of etc.) But a year or two on, he’s not as free as I am to make different editions, market it worldwide and do what he feels is needed to keep the book alive. Swings and whatnots.
Anyway: those books are done and more are incubating.
And so we return to #1.
If you’re curious about any of those books we’re hatching or our other author adventures, try my newsletter.
Do you live with another writer, or do you have a close relationship with one as a critique partner? How does it work? If you are the only writer in your family, how does it fit in with the other people in your life?
authors, criticism, critique partners, Dave Morris, Depth & Heart, gaming, having ideas, how to write a book, how to write a novel, lonely writer, My Memories of a Future Life, novels, Porter Anderson, publishing, Roz Morris, self-publishing, solitary writer, videogames, writer support, Writer Unboxed, writer's block, writers' families, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, writing business, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, writing lifestyle, Writing Plots With Drama, writing routine
- From literary journal to 10 books a year – interview with Jessica Bell @msbessiebell of Vine Leaves Press @VineLeavesPress November 19, 2020
- What movies get wrong – and right – about authors. And Elizabeth Taylor: Ep47 FREE podcast for writers November 18, 2020
- The panic document – when you fear your book has a major flaw, how to diagnose what’s really wrong November 8, 2020
- Nanowrimo prep – plan your characters, improvise your plot October 14, 2020
- Critiquing a friend’s book… how do you tell them it doesn’t work? October 11, 2020
- What to call your characters and places – Ep 46 FREE podcast for writers October 6, 2020
- How to write the difficult second novel. And why it’s difficult. Ep 45 FREE podcast for writers September 20, 2020