Today we continue our series about the creative writing process by asking author Georgia Hill about how she works.
What type of environment do you need to write?
It depends what stage of writing I’m at. If it’s the first draft or I’m at the jotting ideas down stage, I can write just about anywhere and using anything! When I get to the second and subsequent drafts (which I always find far more difficult), I have to sit at my desk in my study. I have the radio on very low and hunker down. I have a huge sheet of paper stuck on the wall with a plot outline and a notebook next to me. It reminds me where I’ve got to, how each character speaks, what they look like, their mannerisms, the place names of the setting and other details which I’m inclined to forget!
How do your ideas come to you? Do you always write them or do you let them disappear?
Sometimes ideas arrive in dreams. It’s only when I write them down that they seem too crazy to work. Often a story is suggested to me by the characters turning up in my head. They won’t leave me alone until I’ve written them down. I lived with Rachel and Gabe, Hetty, Richard and Edward in While I Was Waiting for a long time. In my next book, Matt came along more or less fully formed. I know exactly what he looks and sounds like and even what he wears. The heroine is vaguer but, as I write, she’s coming into better focus. I have an image board immediately in front of me, which helps. I have a ton of notebooks full of messy jottings. I don’t let ideas for stories disappear exactly but I’m guilty of writing them down and then forgetting all about them. I found an outline for a story about two sisters at the weekend and really can’t remember recording it. Sounded quite good too!
Do you plan a story from the beginning to end or start with an idea and let the chapters come to you as they do?
I’m most definitely not a planner. It’s my undoing now I’m writing novels with more complicated plots and dual narratives. Hence the notebook and plot outline – colour co-ordinated to show the different time frames. But – I’m writing romance, so I know the beginning and the end – it’s the soggy middle I have most trouble with.
Which do you find easier to write: dialogue or description or are the equally hard/easy?
I don’t find anything particularly easy to write although novellas take less time – from the first draft through to the final edit simply because there are fewer words to wrangle. I love writing layered, more complicated novels as those are the stories I most like to read. My first draft is almost entirely comprised of dialogue. I add any necessary description in later, when I sit down and attempt the second draft. I often come across notes: ‘Add more detail here’ is usually what I’ve told myself!
What advice can you give to new writers who might be scared to post their stories?
I sympathise. Posting something the first time is terrifying. However, my advice would be to go for it. It took nine or ten years but putting my writing on a forum led to me getting a publishing contract. The first step is never easy but it can develop your writing career – and a reading audience. And, you never know, they may absolutely love your writing.
What is your favourite book and why?
I have lots of favourite books but I suppose my all time fave is Pride and Prejudice. I love Lizzy Bennet, the wit, Jane Austen’s insights into her characters – and the plotting is sublime.
Find Georgia’s works at her Amazon author page here.
Amazon UK page here.
Our previous interview with Georgia can be found here.