One of my favourite pens is the Parker cartridge fountain pen. It’s what I used to write with at school. So it has nostalgia value but it’s also great for sketching. I love drawing with it because the ink is water-soluble so you can lick your finger and smudge shadows into your artwork. Its great if you combine writing and doodling – which I still do sometimes.
I also love rollerball gel pens because they’re write so easily gliding across the paper. The trouble is they quickly run out of ink, and they’re not very good for sketching; so don’t use them that often.
For book signings I like Sharpies best – although they bleed through the page which is not so good. Recently WH Smiths were selling a selection of coloured Sharpie in one big pack for a tenner. I bought those and have been using them to sign batches of my books in different colours. It’s much more fun to than using only black ink.
When I first started writing I was into The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and I would write morning pages every day. I always used these A4 Ryman’s notebooks with colourful plastic covers, I loved that they were full page like a pad, but put together like a book. Over the years I filled about 25 of them. Sometimes with journal entries and other times with notes on whatever project I was working on. I like the fact that they’re full A4 because you can fill one and know it’s about 300 words.
Here’s one with some early notes for Cogheart (mostly stuff that doesn’t end up happening in the book).
Recently I’ve started buying Molskines. They’re easier to carry with me than the big A4 notebooks. I like to customise them with whatever stickers I have knocking around so they look a bit jollier.
I use a lot of note cards. I used to have a noticeboard to keep my notecards on, but I don’t anymore so I sandwich them under the glass computer desk – you can see them beneath the notebooks here. Sometimes I glance at them while I am working. They mostly have inspirational writing advice and quotes from people, but a few have writing tips from me to myself. I also collect art postcards and so those images are dotted about too. I particularly like the ones that suggest character or story.
When I start writing a new project I use a yellow legal pad to make notes. Post-its are for more random thoughts. I normally try and write a 5-10 page synopsis longhand on the legal pad. Then, if I suddenly need to add a missing scene into the text, I will just write it on a Post-it and stick it where it needs to go in the chronology.
I have a load of Post-its stuck around my computer screen with unrelated random ideas on. If any of these end up being useful for the book I will stick them all on a sheet together and staple them down, like this:
Then, working from all these various scraps of paper I ended up writing my first draft straight into the computer. After that, it’s on to editing…
I recently discovered these little sticky coloured tabs for marking up documents, and I LOVE them. I use them all the time for editing now. When I get the dreaded editorial letter I mark it all up with coloured tabs and write the name of each character or plot point on them so I can flick to the edit notes as I’m working and see what I need to do related to that character. It helps me keep track of things.
My new book Moonlocket comes out on the 1st of May, it’s a sequel to my debut Cogheart; a Victorian steampunk adventure story, which was nominated for the Waterstones Book Prize and long-listed for the Branford Boase Award. Moonlocket rejoins Cogheart’s heroes six months later as they are about to get embroiled in a new adventure. Here’s the synopsis:
When infamous escapologist Jack Door breaks out from Pentonville Prison, he sets out for the town of Brackenbridge, determined to find his missing treasure – the Moonlocket.
But when Lily and Robert unwittingly find themselves caught up in Jack Door’s search, they discover that Robert’s history holds the secret to the Moonlocket’s whereabouts…
Another delicious slice of Victoriana, return to the mysteries locked at the heart of London’s dark and murky streets and a world of extraordinary invention in this eagerly awaited next instalment of the Cogheart Adventures.
If you want to get in touch with me you can chat to me on:
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Or my website – peterbunzl.com (where there’s a contacts page).