Real Writing Stories returns with a fresh instalment. Continuing with the series My Writing Day, I’m delighted to introduce friend and fellow writer, Caroline Barden.
Caroline is a writer and professional proof-reader. Her work has featured in The Guardian newspaper and recently she was victorious in the Writing on the Wall flash fiction competition. If you’d like to get in touch with Caroline you can do so through her website: http://www.cbproofreader.com/creative-writing/
Short stories and poems are my favourite things to write at the moment, although I am sure there is a novel inside me waiting to be found. My topics are varied and often inspired by discussions at writing groups, writing competitions and the news.
Early morning physical exercises, done slowly, give me time to mull over plots, first lines and snippets of poetry. After breakfast, as my day job begins, my thoughts have to hang on, waiting for a break or quiet time. My two occupations, writing and proofreading, complement each other – learning from one so often relates, and is important, to the other.
Several days may go by before I write anything, but meanwhile, the plans about first lines and structures are developing and changing in my mind. When there are a few spare hours I make myself comfortable with a notepad. My favourite place is by the window in the front room. Our street is usually quiet, but there’s always the possibility that someone interesting will walk by. When the sun is shining is the best time. It is vital for me to keep away from my computer at the beginning, it is much too easy to be distracted by Facebook in the unformed stages of a piece.
I use a pencil to compose – I like to rub out words, scribble, cross things out. My first draft will often ramble and repeat as it follows my thoughts. The second and third are more considered, that’s where the paragraphs get moved around and sentences rewritten. I read aloud to myself, muttering into my notepad, trying to make myself into the reader. When my story feels fairly well formed it’s typed up.
The editing process includes asking my family and friends for their questions and comments. Questions from a critical reader are brilliant for prompting thoughts out of my head and onto the paper, they help to make sure the story flows. The online Oxford Dictionary has an indispensable thesaurus – it’s great to use when checking repetitions and trying out alternative words.
When is my story finished and the editing complete? – this is a question I am yet to fathom, there always seems to be one more change to make!
Thanks for stopping by! If you’d like to share your own writing day, why not get in touch? Just drop me an email to let me know you’d like to contribute and we’ll discuss the rest!