My Writing Process – Blog Hop

Many thanks to Jean Bull for tagging me in this blog hop. Jean is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme, and her 1929-set novel, Gypsy Moth, is available on Amazon. You can read the lovely reviews she’s had and find out more here. Jean also blogs, and you can follow her on Twitter: @jean_bull. On 19th May, please look out for the next article in the series, from R J Gould. You can read more about his work at the bottom of this post.

My Writing Process Q&A


What am I working on?

I’ve just finished editing a romantic mystery set in my home city of Cambridge, UK. It’s about Ruby, who’s house-sitting for a man she’s never met, having made a bolt from home. Within days she’s caught up in the unhealthy relationships he’s formed, and, when one of his contacts finally snaps, she finds herself enmeshed in a chain of deadly consequences. It’s a race against time to discover who’s meting out their version of justice.

Ex-PI, Nate Bastable gets drawn into her search for the truth. But why did he give up his old job? Ruby ends up with two mysteries to solve…
I’m also starting to think of a follow up to this story.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My novels are crime/thrillers with love interest. I try to combine drama, danger and romance with witty one-liners, warm characters, and feel-good endings.

Why do I write what I do?
As a teenager, I lapped up books with mystery and love interest: things like Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier, the entire output of Mary Stewart, and M M Kaye’s ‘Death in…’ series. And then there was Jilly Cooper’s Bella… I was (and am) also an avid reader of general crime, and indeed, love stories. So the answer is, I write in the genre I enjoy reading.

How does my writing process work?

I usually start with a tiny spark of an idea and spend weeks mulling it over, thinking of all the places it might take me. I love this bit and find that the mulling works best when I’m doing something mundane, like cleaning the bath. This is quite handy, since it means I actually do some housework every few months… The approach also has scientific approval, as I noted in this blog post on creativity.

Once I’ve got to a point where there are lots of ideas bouncing round, I start to rough out the structure of the story. This involves scribbling plot developments on bits of paper and laying them out on our wooden floor, so I can muck around with the order. (We live in a terrace, and floor space is limited. It all works fine until I realise the edge of my cardigan has swept plot points 7, 8 and 9 into the fireplace…)
Once I’ve got an order that seems right, I get it down into Excel. After that I go on adding details as required, and put in extra developments as I think of them.
Then I start writing. I know lots of people get on very happily without planning ahead, but I find it helps me relax and lets the writing flow. I don’t have to worry about how the story will end, or what the major clues will be. New plot twists and developments always come to me as I write – and that’s fine – the plan doesn’t have to be fixed, it just has to be there for reassurance!
I’ve had a lovely time reading other writers’ ideas on process. In Wannabe a Writer? Jane Wenham-Jones includes a section on planning, with some great ideas I intend to try out. I’d also recommend this book to anyone who needs a lift – it’s laugh-out-loud funny, so brilliant as a pick-me-up! 
My other latest writing read, is The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing. I blogged about it here, and I find its guest articles by crime authors really interesting. 

Next Week’s Blog Hop 


R J Gould lives in Cambridge, England. His contemporary romantic fiction introduces quirky characters and explores their relationships using humour and a strong sense of irony. His e-novels are published on Amazon Kindle, and have received great reviews. He’s a member of Cambridge Writers, winning the group’s annual short story competition in 2010 and receiving commendations in 2012 and 2013. He’s on the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. He works for a national educational charity and has written non-fiction texts and articles for a wide range of journals and newspapers – but writing fiction is his passion. You can find out more at www.rjgould.info and on Twitter @RJGould_author

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4 thoughts on “My Writing Process – Blog Hop

  1. Thanks for taking part in My Writing Process, Clare. I like the image of you setting out your plan on the floor and whisking away important plot points with your cardigan!

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  2. Lovely to hear how you write Clare – very similar to my process, but I leave out the post-it notes in the fireplace stage and go straight to putting my rough plot points onto a word document 🙂

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