I’d like to welcome Eleanor Brown and her blog tour for her new book, The Light of Paris which was released yesterday (14th July) by The Borough Press. Hi Eleanor. Thank you so much for joining me. How do you approach the writing process? Do you do much planning and do you edit as you go etc?
I’m a non-planner by nature but I’ve trained myself to do at least some. With The Weird Sisters I just clanged around discovering the story as I went, but with The Light of Paris I worked quite hard to plan things out ahead of time. Consequently, it took me years to write The Weird Sisters, but once I had The Light of Paris figured out, I wrote the first draft in under two months.
I always say to my writing students that you’re going to do the organizational work sometime – whether it’s at the beginning, in the middle when you get stuck, or at the end is up to you, but you can’t avoid it altogether. I recommend a bare minimum of planning at the beginning, even if you consider yourself a free spirit – it saves a lot of pain and dead ends.
There is zero editing as I write! I just hurl it all on the page and tell myself I can make it pretty later. I hate drafting so much I just want it over with. Besides, what’s the point of making something pretty if I am just going to have to cut it later?
Can you tell me a little about your typical writing day and do you have any writing rituals (coffee before you begin, writing in silence etc.)
For a long time I thought if I could just figure out the perfect habit, I’d have this writing thing conquered. Now I understand that there is no perfect schedule – only what you can get done.
You have to write when you can, and that may change from year to year or week to week or day to day. I used to write in the mornings and took care of business in the afternoon. But lately it’s made more sense to do business in the morning and write in the afternoon. If I kept desperately trying to fit the way things are into my old schedule, I’d be frantic. Occasionally I just have to step back and say, “This isn’t working right now. What can I do differently?”
I believe writing rituals are dangerous. What if there’s a day you can only write while you wait for your kid to get out of soccer practice? If you’ve trained yourself to need your favourite pen and the perfect blend of tea, you’re out of luck. I just write when I can, where I can, as much as I can.by