Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Guest Post: Jack Heath Talks About His Writing Process!

'Whose body is that on the table?' I ask. She stares at me, as though the answer is obvious. 'It's yours,' she says. Before I have time to scream, she types a command on the keyboard. My consciousness whirls away like storm water down a drain.
Chloe wakes up to find all her memories have been wiped. And the only person who knows what happened is a teenage girl who looks and sounds exactly like her.
Who is she? And what does she want?
Chloe is running out of time to discover the truth. But she's in even more danger than she realizes, and nothing is as it seems...

Replica is officially published on August 7th in the UK, by OUP, and sounds like a brilliant read. Hopefully I'll get round to it soon and can find out for myself just what exactly is going on with Chloe's memories! Also, how cool is that cover?!

Thanks to Jack for this post and I hope you enjoy learning about a day in the life of an author!


My Writing Process
by Jack Heath

Put phone out of reach of the bed. Set alarm sound to something obnoxious, like "hungry cat" or "dubstep remix of Grande Valse". Go to bed. Read until eyes hurt.
Shut eyes and plan out tomorrow's writing. Why would Lily not tell Josh right away that there was a monster in his back yard? Is the scene between the chase through the forest and the house burning down even necessary? Sleep.
Get out of bed, find screeching alarm, silence it. Switch off wireless router and hide it somewhere. Sleepy enough that it will be impossible to find later, which will increase productivity.
Write. Aspire to make every single word at least mildly surprising, yet still sensible in the context of what came before it, and ideally a teaser for the word after it. Fail in this ambition, but don't get discouraged.
Rewrite. Add the things usually missing from the first draft, such as what the room is like and how the characters are dressed. Watch out for spots in which the research is sketchy. In 200 AD, Emperor Chin died after drinking an elixir of life made from melted silver. Did he really? Sounds like something made up on the fly. Better check.
When baby starts crying, rock him, see if that helps. Read him a wildly innapropriate book, like We Need To Talk About Kevin – see if that helps. Change his nappy, see if that helps. If none of that works, examine own chest. If still no signs of lactation, wake wife and present baby.
Write until phone rings. Whoever it is, ask them to send email. Problem solved. Never open inbox, even if wireless router can be found.
Write until looming pile of dirty dishes become too distracting. Briefly consider washing them, and then walk dog to local café and keep writing there instead. At 200 words, berate self for stupid choice of career. At 500 words, remind self that writers who produce only entropy and methane are actively working toward the extinction of the species. At 1,000 words, congratulate self and go home.
In afternoon, do whatever calendar says. Go to library, bookshop, school, conference. Give readings, sell books, teach writing, make presentations. Record podcast. Make video. If going on TV, shave. Write guest blog post about writing process.
In the midst of all this, eavesdrop. Filter out the politics and sport. Pay particular attention to anything said about science, ethics or psychology. Try to squeeze in some thinking time to make tomorrow's writing easier.
Finally wash dirty dishes, and then create more by cooking and eating dinner. Bathe baby, change baby, put baby to bed. Read in bath, read in bed – almost always YA or literary fiction. Sometimes sci-fi, crime or horror. Embarassingly, almost never classics. At next week's book club, will pretend to have read Dracula all the way to the end.
Put phone out of reach. Plan tomorrow's writing.

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