I've set up this blog so that all my friends, relations and colleagues in the world of writing can keep up to speed with what I'm doing - from now on, I'll never have to say sorry for not keeping in touch.

Or anyway, that's the plan.

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

My writing process...

...yes, there is one!

Thank you to lovely Hannah Emery for nominating me to take part in the fabulous online Writing Process Blog Tour in which writers of all kinds discuss – you guessed it – the writing process.

You can find Hannah’s own blog here: http://hannahcemery.wordpress.com/

Before you arrived, Hannah and I had a good natter over coffee and chocolate cupcakes.  So now we’ll get down to business and I’ll try to answer her questions.

What am I working on?

I’m researching and making notes for a new novel about a woman who marries the wrong man. But the right man is a commitment-phobe who has lots of unresolved emotional issues, travels the world trying to get himself killed on various dangerous assignments, and he’s also the best friend of the heroine’s husband. So...

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I write romantic fiction and am always very much aware that my readers are going to demand emotional satisfaction from my stories.  I’m allowed to put my heroes and heroines through the mill, but they always need to emerge from their ordeals better and wiser people who are at last ready to make each other happy. As for how my work differs from other stories in its genre – all writers speak with their own individual voices, and when we are dreaming up stories we all bring our own loves, hates, obsessions, prejudices, hopes and fears to the desk.  So I suppose my work differs from that of other writers because I’m not them, I’m me.

Why do I write what I do?

I’m endlessly fascinated by the different kinds of emotional relationships which exist between husbands and wives, parents and children, friends and friends.  When we meet a married couple for the first time, for example, we sometimes think: how can she live with him? Or: how can he bear to be with that woman?  Or, on a more positive note: they seem so happy.  What is the secret of this relationship’s success?  I love to speculate and accompany my invented characters on their emotional journeys.

How does my writing process work?

I’m a planner who spends a lot of time researching and making notes.  My first drafts tend to be very short because all I’m doing at this early stage is getting the story down.  What comes first?  I suppose it’s the concept – I decide what I’m writing about: revenge, forgiveness, regeneration, hope, loss, loyalty, betrayal, any or all of these.  Once I have a theme or concept in mind, the story always seems to flow.  But if I didn’t know what I was writing about, I know I’d get stuck.

Now I have talked about my writing process, I nominate Cathie Hartigan to do the same. Check out Cathie’s blog via www.creativewritingmatters.co.uk for writing news, competitions, help with your own creative writing and lots more! Also, you might be interested in a how-to book Cathie and I wrote together, The Creative Writing Student's Handbook - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00JS5LQ4M.


  1. Really love finding out how other people write and about their writing processes. Thanks Margaret this was so interesting and I wish you lots of success with your books and future writing. Thanks Hannah for hosting you :) I am doing this later in the week I think.

  2. Let us know? I'll look forward to reading your post, Jane.

  3. Enjoyed reading this, Margaret. I always find it interesting reading about other writers' process - and like the sound of the new book!

  4. Thank you, Vikki - hope your own writing is going well! MX

  5. I really enjoyed reading about your writing process – thanks for sharing. I’m definitely a planner too. I would be curious to know, when you’ve completed your short, first draft, do you lengthen it by add in in extra plot strands, or filling out the descriptions etc? I love the sound of the story you’re working on; can’t wait to see how that situation is resolved :-)

  6. I love hearing how other writers work - the 'right' man above sounds far more interesting than the husband as well!

  7. Thank you for dropping in, Clare and Kirsty. I lengthen first drafts by adding just about everything - more threads, more characters, more complications for the hero and heroine, more reversals and setbacks. But, having said that, I often find myself cutting first drafts, too - lopping off the first three chapters, a redundant prologue, a character who ends up having nothing to do.

    As for the heroine's husband - well, he's basically a good man, but he has a fatal flaw or two, and he's probably not going to last the distance...