Monday, 24 March 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour


Simon A. Stirling has tagged me in the Blog Hop talking about our writing process. I only know Simon through Facebook, and enjoy his posts very much. I am also a great admirer of his books, 'Who Killed William Shakespeare' and 'The King Arthur Conspiracy' - very interesting books indeed. Simon posted about his writing process on his own blog last week, and you can read it here.

So, now it is my turn to answer the questions that we have all been invited to answer as part of this fascinating blog tour.

1. What am I working on?

At the moment I am doing research for my next book together with the story-line and character development. I love to make lists, so this is how I start with my research. One list for names, one for architects of the time that I will be writing in, and a list for the 'everydayness' of that period. For example, how people would be living. What were their homes like? How were they furnished? What would they be eating? How would they cook it? What were their clothes made from?

My WIP which has the working title The Touching of Stones, is about a family in the 15th Century whose men folk are stonemasons carried on from generation to generation. My novel will be featuring The Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin glen, Scotland, St. Giles' Kirk, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Chichester Cathedral in Chichester, West Sussex, England, Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, England, and the Basilica Santa Maria del Fiori in Florence, Italy. Beautiful buildings, each one unique, with stone work so magnificently tooled, and stained glass windows which demonstrate the ultimate art of storytelling.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My first book Future Confronted was a biography, so this will be my first venture into writing historical fiction, so I am going to endeavour to be original. It is a story that I have had roaming around in my head for some time, and the main premise, as I said earlier, is about a family whose men folk are stonemasons working on churches and cathedrals. I love the history of stone-masonry, and the people whose ideas have come to life that we now see in the cathedrals around us, one of the most extraordinary examples of the intricacies of their art being in Scotland, and it is The Rosslyn Chapel.
The Apprentices Pillar, Rosslyn Chapel
So from that point of view, I think my novel will travel a different road from others. I envision it being at least a three book series, maybe more, running from the 15th century through to the 17th century, following the generations of one particular family.

3. Why do I write what I do?

The love of history, the love of history, and the love of history, it's as simple as that. I have always been fascinated by history, and the people of different times. I have my favourite periods, which are wide ranging, going from the ancient Roman period through to 12th and 13th century  England, and 12th to 15th century Mongolia, having studied Genghis Khan and his descendants. I also love the period that I am writing about at the moment. I love the architecture of this time, as always, architecture is an exemplar of the era, a bookmark if you like, of how the world was during that time.

Churches and cathedrals have their own special styles, their own special...fingerprints if you will. There is so much to consider when building a church or cathedral. Apart from the time it takes to build, some taking longer than 100 years! There is the hewing of the stone from the quarries, the transporting of that stone, the gathering of people, the craftsmen for the different aspects, the stained glass windows, the dressing of the stones, the flooring, and the arches. It leaves much for the author to play with. All the lives involved, all the different paths the story could take. It's almost a carte blanche situation, as long as the history isn't tampered with.

4. How does my writing process work?

Well, I get an idea, I write it down in my 'Ideas Book' which I keep by my bed. I am very often awake for a few hours in the night, so I am either reading or writing down ideas. I then transfer the idea to my WIP book. Here I do spider-grams of all my ideas. For example, I would have my main idea in the centre circle ( and I am not talking Google+ here!), and from that I draw spider's legs with more circles. These circles will have the 'cast of characters'. From there I would take each character and have him/her in the centre circle with the spider's legs radiating out each with their own circle, and so on. When I am happy with that, I give each character a life. This is something that I learned to do at university when I was studying creative writing. We were taught that if you give your characters a three-dimensional life before you write about them it makes them feel like real people. So I give them traits, for example how they would speak, what they like and dislike, give them their little idiosyncrasies, you get the idea. I'm sure this is common practice for many writers.

I like to have pictures of the places that my story will visit. I have them pasted in my Ideas Book, together with maps of the towns that my story will visit. Going to the places that I am writing about also helps. It helps with the research, as does taking many photos. It gives more of an atmosphere to the writing process. The visits evoke the senses, and the imagination.

I like to write straight on to the laptop, and just keep going. I try not to take notice of mistakes as my priority is to get the basic idea down without double checking myself, there will be plenty of time for the editing process later. Sometimes I am totally surprised where my story is taking me. Who knew? So then I have to carry on writing, just to see what happens! I like to make sure the history part is correct, I can't change history, but I can change my story to fit.

For me, the research is most enjoyable. I love it, just love it. Sometimes I go off on a tangent just through the reading, and wonder if I can perhaps fit that piece of history in as well...So, that is me. That is my writing process.

Following me on The Writing Process Blog Hop Tour is Rob Bayliss whose blog can be found here. I know Rob from the Facebook group The Review Blog page where I am on the Admin team, and where we both review books. Please meet Rob Bayliss!

My name is Rob Bayliss. In all honesty I've always been a bit of a history geek, and a sci-fi and fantasy nerd. I've recently discovered the joys of writing and I'm currently working on a clockpunk fantasy series. I also review books for the Review Blog, which is a great way of expanding my reading experience.


  1. This is wonderful Louise, I find many similarities in your writing process with mine. And somehow that is always reassuring to fledgling authors! I love seeing into the creative world of an author and thank you for being willing to share your personal thoughts.

    1. Thank you Judith! I was honoured to have been asked to do this Blog Hop on My Writing Process.

  2. Writers' processes intrigue me and have done forever. Every one is that little bit unique and that's what makes the discovery of the way they work so interesting. Super post, Louise and thank you.

    1. Prue, thank you. I have found that writing about how I write has been an extraordinary experience as I hadn't analysed it before. I know that you too have been tagged in this blog tour, and I look forward to reading your writing process.

  3. Fascinating to get this insight into someone else's writing process. Thanks! I really like the idea of having pictures of the places in your story. Like a kind of creative writing vision board...!

  4. Sounds fascinating - I love history, too, and my husband has a thing about Rosslyn Chapel!