This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Jennifer Cryer's debut novel, Breathing on Glass, was released last year. Here Jennifer let's us see where she works and gives us some insight into her writing process.
Authors start from many places, a first line, an overheard conversation, a character who won’t leave them alone. I usually start from theme. For Breathing on Glass it was the idea that what you do at work, day in and day out, influences the sort of person you are. I play with ideas like this everywhere I go but some of the best times to muse on them are when it is impossible to do anything practical. Rhythm seems to help, on a train, running on the treadmill at the gym, walking. I speculate about one of those swinging hammocks in the garden, strictly for work purposes, of course, but the weather doesn’t seem to justify it, so I just fit this phase of my writing into my daily activities.
The story needs to be peopled with characters and developing them is more of a deliberate procedure. What sort of people would live in this world? What would their lives be like? I visit them, take them everywhere with me, think about how they would react to all the things I see around me.
After this it’s down to the hard work of plotting and writing and basically this takes place in my office. It’s plain and bare, no music, hardly any colour because I want the space to be the story world not mine. There aren’t any story boards or plans or character studies on show because they are all contained in files on my computer and when I write I open and then minimize all the ones I think I might need, so the story feels kept together in its own home. If only all those files would get together while I’m asleep and come up with their own ideas.
My writing cycle usually begins in the late afternoon. As my own day ends and the light begins to fail, the imaginary world becomes more real. I write straight onto screen. Later at night when I am tired I relax in the chair, the only colourful spot in the room, and let myself go. This is when I imagine what I will write about tomorrow and I make notes in a spiral bound exercise book. I use a pencil. There is something provisional about a pencil, compared with a pen, which makes such an indelible mark that allows me to be freer and more inventive. I take the notebook to bed and often wake in the night with a startlingly clear idea of the way forward. It doesn’t look so clear in the morning but I spend an hour or so in my office with a cup of tea sorting it out. And the process begins again.