How long have you been writing? I don’t know where the time has gone but it’s been over twenty-five years now. I started, like all children, writing adorable yet cringe-worthy stories for my primary school English class, progressed to angsty poetry in high school and by Year 12, I was writing a novella. When I started university, I moved into writing romance. I was so sure that I was going to be the next queen of Australian romance fiction. But I found the confines of the genre very limiting. I didn’t want to write one thing, I wanted to write everything.Continue reading
As part of the announcement of the release of my latest book, Project January: A Sequel About Writing, I sent an email to the alumni group of Swinburne University where I studied and graduated with a Master of Arts in Writing. I’d done the same thing when I published Project December: A Book About Writing and they’d been kind enough to include a mention of it in their e-newsletter and a link to where it could be purchased. I hoped they’d do the same this time.
Instead, I got an email asking if I’d be interested in being interviewed and profiled as part of a series on their past students. I thought, “Why not?”.
But once I’d agreed to do it, I did what I always do, which is panic. Sometimes I feel like I have proverbial foot-in-mouth disease (not literal foot-in-mouth disease – gross!) and am prone to say things I shouldn’t. I aim for witty and end up coming off like a weirdo. It’s why I’m a writer, after all. I like having the chance to revise. And revise. And revise again. Speaking off the cuff doesn’t give you that chance.
To keep myself calm and to try to prepare for an interview where I didn’t know exactly what the questions were going to be, I decided to attempt to pre-empt what might be asked and come up with answers. That way, if they did come up, I’d have something that didn’t make me sound like a person on the low-functioning end of the autism spectrum.
“You make it look like work. I need to see the movement, not the effort behind it.”
Jonathan in Center Stage
Okay, Jonathan was talking about ballet but I have a theory that almost all of these types of statements can be applied to writing. And just like ballet, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes in writing that isn’t – or shouldn’t be – visible in the final published book.
I have no academic research to back this up but I suspect for a book that ends up around the 100,000 word mark, a writer would actually write closer to 200,000 words and discard the other 100,000 words as part of the editing process. Not all of those discarded words would be prose, of course. A lot of it would be research.
The problem with research is that no amount of it will help a writer to get to know their characters better. Because characters, like people, are more than just a collection of facts. They are human. They are unpredictable. And how they will react in any given situation is difficult to know. In fact, the only way a writer will know is to put them in that situation and see what happens.
The situations that might teach writers something about their characters may not necessarily make the final cut of their books. But writing them anyway can be a great way to get to know their characters better. So here are a few options for doing just that.Continue reading
This is from an idea for a screenplay that I never fully developed but I always liked this scene I wrote, which was setting up the police characters right at the start of the screenplay in relation to a crime that was not part of the main story.Continue reading
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Louise Truscott: I wrote lots of stories as a child – I have memories of creating aliens and rocket ships – but I suppose I first started taking it more seriously in high school. I used to carry around a red notebook and in that notebook was my first novel (written in long hand), a thriller about the victim of a serial rapist. As I’m sure everyone who ever writes a first novel knows, there wasn’t anything special about it except for the fact that I constructed a story; I started writing it and I finished writing it. I still have it. I wrote angsty teen poems, too.