When I was twelve, for an English assignment, I wrote Heart of Hearts. We had been asked to write a story featuring characters with names that matched their personalities. I spent the whole weekend filling an exercise book with the romantic tale of Janine Glamour and Hans Desirable (so I guess that was my first attempt at New Adult fiction). Unfortunately my teacher didn’t approve of some of the more descriptive elements of my writing!
Like many teenage girls of my era, I spent much of my teenagehood wearing too much black eyeliner, sporting Dr Martens and writing angst-ridden poetry about unrequited love. I can’t recall why this stopped; it certainly wasn’t because the unrequited love ended! But my creative writing went on hiatus for many years as work and adult responsibilities took over.
It took one of those life-changing moments to make me start writing again. My mum passed away suddenly three years ago. My dad had died when I was eleven so Mum was a hugely influential figure in my life. Our relationship wasn’t always easy but she was always my WWMD (What Would Mum Do) internal voice. Her passing coincided with a few weeks off work and there was this huge void of time I needed to fill. I needed something to distract me, something to take my mind away from the sadness it was constantly lurching towards. So I started writing.
I had no plan, no plot, just a laptop and the need to type. I wrote the first few chapters of a book called Curve but it stalled. The characters were too stereotypical and there was this comic element that I wasn’t pulling off successfully. When it was time to return to work, I saved the document in a folder and left it there.
For over a year. And then the need to type reared its head again. I opened up the Curve file, read it and decided that all that was salvageable was the title and the name of the main character, Cass. I started a new Word document and got writing.
Because of work, I tend to write in intense bursts of a couple of weeks at a time. I shut myself away and write without any music, TV etc. However, I talk through most of my dialogue whilst writing it so it’s not a silent activity! I might do a little editing in between writing weeks but I find it really difficult to write in the first person unless I’m immersed in the character. The first draft of Curve took about five months to write but the editing took almost the same amount of time!
Other than my husband and closest friends, I didn’t tell anyone about Curve until it was almost finished. I was never writing with the intention of publishing, it was more about completing a novel before my fortieth birthday. But, as Robert Burns wrote, the best laid plans ‘gang aft agley’ and, somewhere along the line, I realised that I could self-publish it on Amazon etc.
So, here we are…still typing!
*This article first appeared on Lisa J. Hobman’s blog as part of the release tour for Curve