First Drafts With… Eileen Wharton

Afternoon folks, and I’m delighted to welcome crime writer Eileen Wharton to the First Draft series.

Read on for her answers to my questions on her writing process, her writing place (very important to me as well!) and the all important first draft.

1) When you begin the next book, how do you go about it?

My books invariably begin with a voice in my head. From the voice comes the character and the character tells me their story.

2) Do you follow the same process you did for the book before? 

B) Unfortunately, I don’t really have a set process. I’m not a plotter, I’m a pantser. I try to spew and review: get the ides down on the page then go back and revise it. When I first started writing I would constantly be trying to edit and I failed to move forwards. The best piece of advice anyone gave me is to start with a blank page every time and just write. The first draft doesn’t have to be good. No one’s is. Just write and then you’ll at least have something to edit. Turds to polish, as it were.

3) What is your research process, if you have one?
C) I’m forever procrastinating by researching weird things on Google. If anyone could see my internet search history I’d probably be locked up! For my crime novels I have a friend who works for the police who advises me on procedure and protocol. I love taking research trips and I never end up in the pub drinking gin. Honest.

4) How quickly after thinking or planning do you sit down to write?
Writing comes first and then the thinking and planning for me. I’m not a good planner. I often end up with books which are far too complicated and have to split them into three different novels. 

5) How does the draft form on the screen? 
With blood, sweat, tears and profanity!

6) Where do you write the majority of the draft?
I used to write in notebooks and transfer to laptop. I now write straight to laptop. My first novel was written in every spare moment in various places (at the park, the swimming pool, the beach, the garden, in the bath …) while bringing up four lively children. Now I have a writing room. I shut myself away from child number five and write in relative peace. I’m pretty slow and I usually get blocked at about 40to 50K words. I switch from WIPs as I write in various genres. I should probably concentrate on one thing at a time. I’d be much more productive. I’m looking forward to the day when I can give up the day job and write full time. I’ve been trying for twenty years to be an overnight success!

Thanks for your visit Eileen, finding out about your process has been fascinating.

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