When Anita invited me to feature in her blog about my stationery, I thought I’d love to take part. It was only when I started to think about what I used I realised how revealing such information is, and also how I need to be better organised!
It’s amazing the amount of paper I use to complete a finished novel, and the number of pens, biros and coloured pens I need to help me make that final draft, even though I write directly onto the computer screen. I have a number of pens, from a gold-plated Parker, for my ‘Dallas’ days, to a red Parker for most days, to anything I can lay my hands on when I can’t find the red Parker. I also like to collect biros from hotels we’ve stayed in, as they bring back memories of lovely holidays, and biros given out by writers as they remind me of the writer or perhaps a writing conference. In my roundup of writing material, I found a red biro with a ballot box and the slogan Vote Leave on it! How did I get that? Was someone trying to bribe me?
As for paper! A4 gets consumed in vast amounts as each novel is edited at least five times, and although I do some editing on the screen I like to have a hard copy to read through as well. I use large, hard-backed notebooks, with lined pages, for the preparation of my crime novels – Some Particular Evil, The Temptation and The Loophole, I’m about a third of the way through the last. I write down ideas for plots, titles, names, anything and everything to do with the novel, and sometimes if I’m stuck, and need to solve a problem, usually to do with the plot, I’ll sit down, biro in hand and write down any ides that come into my head, or make spider diagrams to connect ideas together into the notebook. This means many of the pages are indecipherable, but the process usually solves the problem.
I have innumerable smaller notebooks which seem to breed in drawers. Where did they all come from? Weak moments in shops? I’m drawn to attractive covers, or causes I believe in such as RNLI, and I’ve been given some lovely notebooks by friends. I’m not very good at controlling them, they hide in cupboards, or under other books, to be discovered when it’s too late and I’ve started a new notebook for the same purpose. I have small notebooks labelled Twitter, Facebook, Website and To Do Today; they help me to try and keep on top of this part of my writer’s life. I struggle! I’m afraid I am a list freak, I need to give myself clear instructions what to do, and to make notes when ides for Twitter come into my head. If I don’t write them down, they’ll disappear like the elusive blue-bird!
My diary is an important writing book; I use it not only for appointments but to block out writing time, and to note the number of words I write in a day and a week. This disciplines and motivates me; writing a 100K novel takes months and I need all the help I can give myself. The diary also has a mini-weekly calendar, and lots of note and reminder pages.
Post-its are useful to stick on the desk when there’s a deadline coming near and I like Mini-coloured labels to stick in my crime notebooks when I’ve had a Eureka moment and a problem is solved. Childish, but no one else is going to give me a gold star!
My second crime novel, published by Accent Press, The Temptation, is published in November, and with Some Particular Evil, published October, 2016, can be bought from Amazon and Accent Press. The Loophole (working title) will be out in 2018.