Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

How not to write a novel

Spend seven years continuously generating material until it fills up in four large boxes and you cannot find any part of it in a hurry, so inevitably you begin to write that part again. On reflection you see you’ve written three different novels, none of which have an ending. Like constantly knitting the arms of a jumper, without noticing there’s no back nor front to it.

Alice Flaherty has written an interesting book on a neurologist’s perspective on the creative brain, the urge to write and writers block. Usually I would avoid reading books about writing and just stick to writing and or rereading the classics, but was attracted by the brain ingredients in it. Then upon reading it discovered this notion of hypergraphia. She’ll hopefully write a follow-up which explains how the hypergraphic writer fathoms editing without marrying an editor, which given some of the contents of the current publishing catalogues would hardly set the pulse a-racing.

I’ve noticed it’s popular to remark on the writing process in newspaper articles. Writers often are asked about it. Curious then that no one suggests how not to do it. This would likely be far more use. Also, people are largely interested in the writing process once it’s over, which is a terrible pity. It would be more interesting to read an interview with some harried writer half way through, rather than when they are chipper and have forgotten the misery.

Early on New Year’s day I expressed the sentiment to a charming person beside me at a party, who was ruminating on Chick Lit, that it would be a more noble gesture for certain writers (this extends far beyond just the realm of chick lit) to actually read good books, rather than consider writing books at all. I was promptly told to get off my literary high horse.

Giddy up.

Subconsciously, I may already have heeded my own advice.

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