Sunday, 22 December 2013

My Writing Process blog tour

Thank you to Jane Riddell for inviting me to My Writing Process blog tour. Jane took part in the tour on 16 December and her answers can be found on:  http://wwwbloggercom-janelilly.blogspot.co.uk/
My Writing Process
What am I working on?
I always have several projects on the go which could explain why I have not (yet) got past 37,000 words on anything; that was the length of my first People’s Friend serial The Family at Farrshore. I am currently writing another serial for them and have just submitted the second instalment for comment. I have several magazine stories at various stages of completion, a romantic novella almost finished, and about 20,000 words of what will be a full-length novel if I live long enough. Plus, from various writing classes, workshops and other prompts I have dozens of ideas – stories-in-waiting.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know if anyone reading my work blind (as it were) would know straight away that it was mine; that’s not for me to say. But I write in different genres and styles. If I’m writing a story that I plan to submit to Woman’s Weekly I would write it slightly differently from a People’s Friend story. A story aimed at New Writing Scotland or a national competition would be very different from both of those.
It’s odd what your sub-conscious throws up. A writing friend, who reads some of my work-in-progress, asked me the other week why twins figure frequently, and even a set of triplets. I have no idea! I do recognise, though, that some of my preoccupations appeared in my first PF serial so I’ve made a list of what not to include in the second one: archaeology, dogs, kittens, red-heads, Canadians, ceilidhs, kilts; and I will cut down on mentions of home-baking. As for multiple births … well, who knows?  What my characters get up to when I’m not looking is their business.
Why do I write what I do?
I mostly write women’s magazine short stories because I’ve been fortunate enough to have had around thirty published and hope to have more. I like the discipline of a word count because it focuses your mind on what is important in the story. I like knowing who my audience is before I start.
But I also like writing into the wind and going where it takes me; writing slightly obliquely – leaving gaps for readers to fill; writing poetically. I also love writing descriptions of scenery and there’s not much place for that when you’ve got a word limit.
How does your writing process work?
I wish I could but I don’t think I’ve ever started with a character in mind; it’s either a situation or a setting that I then have to put people in and get to know them. I’m usually a good way in before I realise what the story is about and who is important in it. So it can be a slow process.
I’m not a plotter; that’s why, I think, I work on more than one thing at a time. A solution for one plot development can occur to me when I’m thinking about another.
I start writing on the computer; if I get stuck I work on something else, as I’ve said, or else I write in longhand for a while, in pencil on unlined paper. That frees me up to proceed without the inner editor interfering and I think it allows the brain to make connections it wouldn’t otherwise. I would never send off a submission without first printing it out, reading it aloud and editing on paper.

Read about Regency novelist Anne Stenhouse’s Writing Process on http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/

On 6 January 2014 My Writing Process blog tour visits three terrific writers:


Anne is a writer and teacher and grandma. She lives in the Hebrides. She can be a subversive old bat but maintains a kind heart. She likes gardening, hiking and riding pillion on her husband’s motor-bike.
She believes – indeed she knows – that there is life after forty, and she writes thoughtful, grown-up, romantic fiction where the main characters are older but no wiser. She has published one novel Change of Life as an indie author and her second book Displacement will be out early in 2014. She blogs at http://annestormont.wordpress.com/ – where you can find out lots more about her.  


I’m a writer of many parts – I write travel as well as fiction – and even within the fictional world I’m always experimenting, trying my hand at a whole range of genres. Based in the beautiful city of Edinburgh, I find it impossible not to be influenced by the places I visit and the people I see around me.

To date my published work consists of short stories in The People’s Friend, Woman’s Weekly and The Lady. My first full-length novel, Thank You For The Music will be published as an ebook in February 2014 by Tirgearr Publishing http://tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Young_Jennifer/index.htm

and website:

I was born in Calcutta – hence my fascination with this buzzing city – but I now live in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’ve seen all sides of the publishing business, as a commissioning editor, journalist and novelist. My published books include a children’s novel and a romantic novel, as well as a number of books on Scotland and Scottish themes. My history of childbirth, With Child, Birth Through the Ages ­(written as Jenny Carter), is used as a reference by many historical novelists. It’s still available on Amazon!

Runner up in BBC Woman's Hour/Woman's Weekly 'Romantic Novelist of the Year' competition and winner of the Romantic Novelists Association's Elizabeth Goudge Award. Numerous awards for feature writing and magazine design.
Designed the RNA magazine Romance Matters 2006-2012, and Fabulous at Fifty, the RNA memoir
Oversaw the RNA rebranding

Face the wind and fly
Loving Susie
Twitter @harper_jenny or find me on Facebook


  1. Good morning Kate. I understand the redheads, this is Scotland, but multiple births? Hmn. Great to read about your writing process and I do get the leaving it until the plot solution rises to the surface. Absolutely! Anne Stenhouse

  2. As you know Kate I am no use at short stories (even a single novel does not suffice sometimes!) so I am interested to hear how you work. I have read The family at Farshore and I know how good you have to be, to be accepted by Woman's Weekly. Well done. I must try harder.

  3. I'm so in awe of any writer who can multi-task! I find it hard enough to concentrate on one thing. Thanks for sharing these insights, Kate, and good luck for 2014. Oh - and if anyone wants to visit my blog on 6 January, please do!

  4. Anne, I enjoyed your answers to the questions and, Jenny, I look forward to reading yours on 6 January. Gwen, if I was as prolific as you I would be very happy. Thanks for commenting; hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

  5. Hi Kate I just saw by chance that you had been part of the blog hop on the same day as me. As a fellow womag it's so interesting to read your answers to the same questions. I too am not a planner, write in a variety of genres and styles and have just submitted instalment two of my PF serial! I hope you have a great Christmas and look forward to sharing more magazine pages with you in 1014.

  6. Thanks for commenting, Wendy. Look forward to reading your serial in due course.