MP! speaks to A G Howard, the author of “gripping” book ‘Unhinged’, about her process and tools for writing. So now’s your chance to swot up.
What is your writing process?My favourite place to write is in my office at home. I have a bulletin board (my desk faces it so I can look at my character headshots or any notes I’ve made while I’m writing).
The one thing I must have is a computer or laptop. I’m not someone who pens their manuscript on paper first. There’s something about the movement of my fingers along the keyboard that sets me into a rhythm and starts the words flowing.
Here are my tools for writing:
Mug shots: I post pictures of my main characters on a bulletin board in my office so I can see them each time I’m in the room. Sometimes that’s enough to either inspire an entire conversation between them, or a scene that I have to sit down and write immediately.
Books and movies: Every Friday night my husband and I watch a DVD together. I prefer movies about my current WIP’s subject (I’m a bit of a fanatic about it). This also goes for books. I saturate myself in the subject I’m writing. This not only keeps my head in the theme, but helps me to avoid things that have already been done in similar books and movies.
Music: When I first start on a project, I’ll compose a playlist of songs to evoke the moods of my characters / scenes, and to heighten the atmosphere of the setting wherein I’ve placed my story. The songs vary from instrumental to vocal pieces. I’m not picky. It all depends upon the book. Sometimes I’ll even listen to this music while doing something other than writing. Just like the pictures on my bulletin board, it sometimes inspires a scene or an exchange when I’m not even at the computer. (To see my ‘Splintered’ series playlists, click here.)
What advice would you give to someone if they wanted to become a writer?
Two things: Write until you finish something, and don’t dwell on the accomplishments or failings of other writers. Don’t compare yourself to them. This is your journey and yours alone. The only way to move forward without tripping is to keep your eyes on the path beneath your feet. I have more advice for aspiring writers on this page of my website.