Saturday, 7 June 2014

Blog Tag: My Writing Process


I am delighted to have been tagged by writer Chris Hill to write this post. Chris is a good friend of mine, and is the author of Song of the Sea God. His blog can be found at: http://songoftheseagod.wordpress.com/ and he is on Twitter @ChilledCH. He and I are both nominated for the e-Festival of Words, fortunately in different categories. Chris has a brilliant chocolate coloured cockapoo puppy called Murphy (see end of post), who sometimes appears on his Facebook page and definitely deserves a whole book to himself --hint,hint. 
So, on with the tagging:
What am I working on?
I'm currently working on the 3rd Victorian crime novel featuring Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his long suffering assistant Detective Sergeant Jack Cully. Readers met them first in Diamonds&Dust A Victorian Murder Mystery, which is published by Crooked Cat Books.
From the outset I was pretty sure the book was a one-off, as it had a difficult birth, being rejected by my agent, and its genre, which could loosely be described as historical-pastiche-crime-comedy is not exactly to everybody's taste. Or so I thought.
Of course I was proved wrong. Readers fell in love with the characters and I was deluged with lovely reviews and pleas for another book. Thus a second book got written Honour&Obey, A Victorian crime thriller. This is currently being read by my publisher, and in the absence of anything better to do, I have begun a third book. I blame the readers.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
As already stated, the books have a slightly comic edge and reference contemporary writers of the period and styles of narrative. What I don't do is 'add' to an already popular strand as some writers have done with Jane Austen or Conan Doyle. The books stand alone, a homage to a period and a literary canon that I admire tremendously - even though I slightly take the p*** out of it at times.
As I'm not attempting to replicate one particular style, I can flit happily between styles, using the intrusive narrator device of Thackeray or Sterne, and the socio-political rantery of Dickens. It helps if you are familiar with Victorian writers and the way they write, but it is not a necessity. I hope.
The other way the books differ is that I write in one almost continuous narrative. There are pauses, but no specific chapters. I do this because the story unfolds from several perspectives, and it is easier to switch viewpoint by this method. Plus, I find it hard to write in 2 thousand word slices. I think it gives the story pace - certainly several reviewers have commented that they couldn't put the book down. Glue secreted on the pages also helps.
Why do I write what I do?
Well, on the surface, I am a nice kind person who helps old ladies across the road (normally they are me). However, behind this benign front lurks a deeply complex individual with a dark interior world that few dare venture into. This is the reason I love reading and writing crime fiction. Maybe it's something resonating from my past, this urge to slaughter people...who knows? All I can say is that the one occasion I tried my hand at chicklit, there was a body on the floor by the second chapter. And not in a good way. It is always said that you should never fall out with a crime writer, as they will inevitably kill you in their next book. In my opinion, this is quite true. Be warned.

How does your writing process work?
I usually start by researching specific areas that I think might be part of the final story. For Diamonds&Dust, it was the vampire scare of the early nineteenth century. For Honour&Obey, it was the ''lonely hearts'' columns that were a feature of many Victorian newspapers. I re-read lots of contemporary fiction writers. I then write little bits and pieces featuring characters. And over time, all these processes, fuelled by vast amounts of coffee, continue until a novel emerges. I have blogged about how I write here. It is very unsystematic, but all I can say is, hey, it works for me.
Thanks for the questions. Next up on the blog hop is Jeff Gardiner, a fellow Crooked Cat writer.Check his post at: https://jeffgardiner.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/tagged-on-a-blog-hop/
Don't forget, if you want to read a sample of Diamonds&Dust, A Victorian Murder Mystery, you can do so HERE. US readers can do so HERE.
Murphy the cockapoo



27 comments:

  1. To sum up what your writing style did for me I'm going to put here my review of Diamonds and Dust which I was too techno-inept to share on Amazon...

    ...."I didn't read this book in one sitting preferring instead to savour the minutiae of every single...delightful...heart pumping...breath taking page as I lay in a luxurious bath each night relishing the company of every fascinating character who shared my watery sanctuary.
    Through skilled penmanship the author, Carol Hedges, managed to hold my interest from start to finish leaving me only to beg that she finishes the sequel VERY soon as not only do I miss slipping into the cobbled textures of her marvelously descriptive prose...I have also lost the will to bathe until such time as I am returned to the era of gas-light and grave goings on!"...

    Says it all....

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    1. Aw..thank you. May put this on my Facebook page for all to see and marvel at.

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  2. Isn't it interesting how we all work differently? But that's one of the wonderful things about being a writer - we do what works for us!

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    1. I learn so much from other writer's methods ..the main thing being precisely your comment!

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  3. It's so refreshing to know the authors I admire do 'what feels right' when it comes to the writing process. I hadn't realised there was a 'process' when I started out! Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to read Honour & Obey, I was totally hooked with Diamonds & Dust so I'm excited there's more to come. Just got to scrub this glue off my fingers ;-)

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    1. Hahaha.... I do subtle the way elephants do tap dancing!

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  4. May I add to the trumpet blowing by adding my two pennorth?
    Here goes...
    I have discovered that everything you write is always better than the last, and when I started reading your books I wouldn't have thought that was possible... I aspire to be as good as you one of these days. (well, you have to hope, don't you?)
    Jaye

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    1. Soooo kind of you. I have to say I tend to feel the reverse..every time I start a new book, I think...OMG you are regressing!!!!It's a writer thing xx

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  5. I've never quite had the courage to approach novel writing in this way. I try to go down the traditional route of writing down an overall plot then planning each chapter. By the time I've done that I'm quite often sick of what I'm doing and put it in the pending file. You're an inspiration and your books show that it works.

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    1. Thank you Ros. Coming from you,a fellow writer, that is a lovely compliment

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  6. I agree with Jo on writing and differences but that's the way the pen pushes. As for me I have always got a book in my head just can't seem to get it out. Great blog post Carol and as I have said before 'Great Style'.

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  7. I'm in love with the Murphy!

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  8. Interesting post Carol - learned a lot about your writing process! Murphy is a lot more popular than me these days - maybe he should have his own blog :)

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  9. This has to be the most entertaining of these 'my writing process' posts I've read. I loved it! I can't think why mine was so boring and serious now. This is much more enlightening and such fun to read too! I cannot imagine writing the way you do, but I'm very glad it works for you, Carol, because I love the end products! By the way, about Murphy, he can take over Sindy's blog. She's decided she's too old for it now and nobody reads it anymore - probably because she's too old…s'not fair (which is what she says to everything, actually).

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    1. Aw...thanks lovely Val. And I really think Murphy should have his own blog!

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  10. Here here! I love to read your perspective on writing, Carol. A well deserved award and may I bestow another please !
    I hereby award Carol Hedges the Versatile Blogger Award !
    http://sharingthestoryblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/embracing-variety/

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    1. ooh...how exciting. THank you very much!! I love blogging!

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  11. Another wonderful blog entry! It's interesting to get inside the mind of such a gifted writer. Looking forward to more Diamonds! And I can handle the Dust that comes along with them!

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    1. Aww.thanks Hap. Long time no hear!!!

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  12. I'm always keen to know how other writers set about their work so I can (a) figure out if I'm doing something right and (b) try their methods on for size. The idea of writing the ending first is genius. I'm writing in snapshots rather than chapters and hoping it all comes together somewhere down the line but the ending would give me a clear view of the road ahead. Clever idea - thanks Carol!

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  13. A fascinating read, Carol, and your writing process process proves there is no one way to write, there is only what works for you.

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    1. Thanks Carol & Teagan. If nothing else, it proves that there is no right way ..and anyone who says there is, is wrong.

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  14. I agree with Val, this is one of the most entertaining blog posts about the writing process that I have read, and I've read quite a few. I love your humour and I'm looking forward to reading your books Carol. "Diamonds and Dust" is in my Kindle queue.

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    1. ooh thanks! I do find that I can't take things too seriously...dunno why, maybe because there are so many more worthy people writing about writing. Have to occupy the lunatic sidelines...

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