Saturday, 24 December 2011


It is Christmas Eve, and you would think writers could take a break over the festive season like everyone else. Well, I find it doesn't work quite like that. If you are mulling over a tricky plot point, or in the middle of an exciting scene, how can you suddenly put a stop to your imaginative flow?

The best you can do, if you really have to get that bird into the oven or wrap those presents, is jot down a few notes and hope they make sense when you come to look at them a day or so later.

For the same reason I like to have a pen and paper by my bed in case an idea comes to me just before I fall asleep - or, as sometimes happens, in the middle of the night.

My worst nightmare is losing all of my work through a computer breakdown. Years ago, a fellow writer, who has gone on to be a very successful novelist, lost all of her first novel in a computer crash. Because she had emailed the chapters to me and luckily I still had them on my hard drive, I was able to email them back to her.

The other day I was having some computer trouble and realised I hadn't backed up my current novel. In the old days I would automatically save to both hard drive and floppy disc, but things are different now. As soon as my computer was back to normal I made a copy onto my external hard drive.

My point is, that once you have gone through all the imaginative work of creating your plot and characters and breathed life into the story, the thought of starting from scratch all over again is horrifying. That is why I never like to leave a novel alone for too long: if I've put in a lot of work it is harder to pick up the threads again.

So I will most likely sneak away on Christmas Day and write at least a couple of paragraphs, just to keep the flow going.

Happy Holidays!

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