Wednesday 20 February 2019

BLOG TOUR ~ The Four of Us by Áine Toner

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Four of Us by Áine Toner where I have a guest  piece on how Áine writes. I was thrilled to be asked by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers who organised this tour in conjunction with Manatee Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:

How I Write

‘So you’ve said the end of May?’ my friend asked when I was telling her about the deadline for The Four of Us. It was the beginning of February.
‘I did,’ I said, utterly pleased with myself. May was ages away.
‘And you’ve written ten thousand words?’ she asked.
‘Yep.’ Again, I felt smug. That was also loads of words.
‘So you’ve three months to write about eighty thousand words?’ she said.
Reality set in. ‘Ah, yeah, sure that’s grand.’

I don’t want to repeat what my friend said but it wasn’t ‘That’ll be no bother to you because you are a seriously organised magazine editor and it’ll be wee buns.’
I am a seriously organised magazine editor but had I bitten off more than I could chew? The fact is: my writing schedule isn’t a truly efficient way of doing things. I wouldn’t recommend it but it works for me. 

I had the idea of The Four of Us in my head, and everything – and I do mean everything – hinged on one word that I’d written in my very fancy ‘I’m writing a book’ notebook. Good stationery is hugely important if you write mainly in longhand like I do. I feel comforted when I can see my handwriting/scrawl over lined pages. This one word was how I would develop the second half of the novel and it gave me reassurance whenever I had a slight panic about reaching the self-imposed deadline.

I figured if I wrote ten thousand words a week I’d have time to edit before sending in the first draft. Which sounded ok, but I also have a full-time job on a weekly magazine. In thirteen weeks, we’d have sent thirteen magazines to print as well as two events so the only way I could devote adequate time to both was not sleep or be smart about it.

Honestly, I think it was a mixture of both. I started writing during my lunchbreak in the office. We don’t often leave the office so, when possible, I wrote for 40-45 minutes hell for leather. I’d always leave a chapter hanging or a piece of conversation mid-sentence so I’d have something to go back to. Then, in the evening, I would finish up my lunchtime work and see how far I’d get. Some nights I’d write for an hour, some I would only manage 20 minutes. There was no point in beating myself up about it, it was my fault I was in this situation!

For the first draft, it was very much about getting it down on paper. The bonus of writing most of it via longhand was, when it came to collating the various bits of book, I could edit as I went along. I knew what I wanted to change for the most part so it was slightly more reassuring to feel the pressure ease off as I transcribed.

By the beginning of May I had a little over 90,000 words, 80 per cent of which was written in about eight weeks. It doesn’t work for everyone but I loved it, it made it exciting and real in a sense. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the panic style of writing but it did make me very much in the zone. Yes, I did change some plot lines during the edit but the story was there. Though I probably wouldn’t give myself such a tight deadline next time…

No comments :

Post a Comment