My writing process. (blog hop)

Right. A Blog post about my writing process – following on from Dorothy Bruce’s all-singing, all-dancing post last week on her blog –
Dorothy has been involved with an annual walking and arts festival, destination development, the restoration of a Victorian pier, and wrote a book on Alexander Reid, Vincent van Gogh’s Scottish sitter. She says of herself – I seek to capture my world in words and photographs, an expert at neither, a striver at both. My novel In the Wake of the Coup is available on Amazon as an ebook and paperback, and in an illustrated edition on iBooks.
She is also frequently the ‘cavalry’ when I have computer problems, so I was happy to take part in this when asked – happy that is until I saw her post with all the lovely photos – worth taking a look for them alone – and realized what I was going to have to follow.

So here is my very austere answering of the questions, sans photos I’m afraid as my technological wizardry doesn’t stretch to including them. Someday maybe…

1.What am I working on?
My labour of love at the moment is the sequel to Turn of the Tide – I’m finding it much more difficult than the first book –
maybe not surprising -folk often talk about the difficulties of a second novel and I can certainly testify to that. When
I’m really stuck I play around with short story plots – there are two competitions with closing dates fast approaching that
I’d like to enter.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Now initially I thought – that’s a tricky question. But then I began to
try and think of other authors to compare myself with – even more
difficult. I’ve been told that one of its most distinctive features is ‘voice’.
Several other features are unusual in the current writing climate – my
characters don’t swear, not even the bad guys, and there is no explicit
sex. Both of these are by deliberate choice and stem from my strong
personal Christian faith and a desire for my books to be appropriate for
anyone from 10 to 110 (or older if anyone was fortunate or unfortunate
enough, depending on your POV to live that long.)

3. Why do I write what I do?
I’ve been a daydreamer all my life (and discovered last week courtesy of
the Huffington Post that it is a very good thing for a writer to be.) So part
of me has always enjoyed drifting off to places I’ve never been and
doing things I could never do in real life…like living in the 16th century.
Would I really have loved the sights and sounds and smells? Possibly
not, but I do love the challenge of getting into my characters’ heads in a
very different world from our own.

4. How does my writing process work?
There are two answers to this – how I intend it to work, and how it
actually does. At the moment they are definitely NOT the same thing.
Here’s the plan – get up at c 6.30am and write a little before breakfast,
to kick-start my writing day. Then breakfast, Bible quiet time, minimal
housework (good job son No 1 has left home, as he has a dust allergy) and back to writing by c 9.00am.
Aim – to increase my word count by 5000 words per week. Which
effectively means c 1000 words per day, as life often intervenes and I
can’t write every day. Once I hit that target the idea is to do some light
editing / research / short story writing / catch up on emails etc.
And by that plan the sequel would have been finished by Christmas.

In the real world I am managing to get up at the right time, but find
myself tempted by emails as soon as I get up. So it’s a struggle to write
before breakfast. And then it’s a struggle to write after breakfast too as
there might be some replies to my earlier emails… The one positive
thing at present is that the internet connection at my desk is poor, so
that when I am at my desk the temptation to waste time on the internet
is lessened – thankfully. I am not one of those folk who can write
anywhere, at any time – I need to be disciplined, so that when my
husband suggested setting me up a dedicated writing space I thought
that was just what I needed. And I’m sure it will be – once I’ve managed
to trigger a “Pavlov’s dog” reaction: sitting down at my desk = writing.
I like to write chronologically and that is another problem at present,
due to some research issues, so I’m having to write some chapters out
of sequence – well out of my comfort zone. I’ve been asked to
contribute to another author’s blog in April and I’m going to write there
about some of the 2nd novel issues; suffice to say here it hasn’t been /
isn’t easy, and I’m not even going to set myself another deadline.
(Though maybe I should…) I am desperate to get to the end of the first
draft, because I found last time that what I enjoy most is the slash and
burn first big edit – as someone once said – ‘If you have something
written, you have something to change.’

There three folk who will each be posting about their writing process next Monday – 17th, do pop over to their blogs and see what they have to say.

They are:

David Ebsworth is the pen name of writer, Dave McCall, a former negotiator and Regional Secretary for Britain’s Transport & General Workers’ Union. Dave began to write seriously in 2009. He has published two novels, The Jacobites’ Apprentice (2012) and The Assassin’s Mark (2013), while his third, The Kraals of Ulundi: A Novel of the Zulu War, is due to be published in May this year.

Pop over to his blog to read more –

Alaric Bond was born in Surrey, and now lives in Herstmonceux, East Sussex. He has been writing professionally for over twenty years with work covering broadcast comedy (commissioned to BBC Light Entertainment for 3 years), periodicals, children’s stories, television and the stage.

His acclaimed Fighting Sail series differers slightly from the standard formula of one central hero, charting instead the course of several characters from both lower deck and commissioned ranks and giving a broader insight into life aboard a man of war during the age of sail.

Turn a Blind Eye, his latest novel, is set in a revenue cutter during the autumn of 1801, and focuses on the private war between smugglers and the customs service. Find out more at

Simon Andrew Stirling trained as an actor at LAMDA before turning professional as a freelance scriptwriter. He wrote episodes for mainstream television dramas, winning a Writers’ Guild Award in 1995, and also scripted programmes for the Open University. More recently, he moved into investigative historical research, publishing The King Arthur Conspiracy: How a Scottish Prince Became a Mythical Hero (The History Press, 2012) and Who Killed William Shakespeare: The Murderer, The Motive, The Means (The History Press, 2013). In addition to working as a script consultant and book reviewer, Simon lectures in Film Studies and Screenwriting at the University of Worcester and gives popular talks on the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare’s death.

Simon’s writing blog is at:

4 thoughts on “My writing process. (blog hop)

  1. Great post, Margaret. I love the section on how your work process functions in practice, rather than as you’d like it to be. Sounds familiar!. And I agree with you about the e-mails. If I can JUST resist the temptation to open the e-mails first, the rest of it all seems to fall in place 🙂

  2. This is very interesting, Margaret, with lots of things I can relate to. Like you, I don’t make my characters swear much and I don’t go in for explicit sexual scenes. I think there are lots of readers out there who, like you and me, don’t want this sort of thing in the books they read.
    And I think you’re very brave to write a sequel. So many people asked me to write a sequel to Belfast Girls, but I don’t think it’s possible. The main characters’ lives come to a resolution at the end of the book – where could I go from there? However, I’ve compromised by bringing some of the characters into my Angel Murphy books in minor roles; and, who knows, Mary may yet play a more important role in a future Angel book!
    All the best with your sequel.

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