I have a preferred pen. It’s quite thick and stumpy, with a rubber hold and in my favourite colour: maroon. When I was younger I always LOVED a fountain pen (don’t all little girls?) but now I don’t think I could be doing with one. My fave pen is a ball point, in blue. There’s something more appealing about writing in blue… I feel.
When I’m buying a notebook it depends on how flush I’m feeling and what I’m buying it for. If I just need an everyday book for ideas and thoughts etc, then I’ll buy any old A4 or A5 notebook – always lined… I have a lot of these. But when I have a new idea or something special brewing, then I like to find something to reflect my intent – then it’s all about the look and the feel and the design. I try to buy something I really love. When I decided to go for it and re-launch Tale Time, I bought a lovely touchy feely notebook, with a material woven cover. I like the feel of it as well as the look. I think it suits the project. I recently got given a lovely Toucan notebook for my birthday. I’m not sure what I’ll use this for yet… but it will be something special.
There are a few tools I use in my writing process. I went through a massive stage of sticky notes… but then they all fell off my planning board, so now I use Stickies on the computer and map out my stories on big A3 sheets, or pin ideas to a cork board. I also like to draw. I am no artist, so these drawings are for my eyes only. But I use good quality drawing paper and either watercolours or coloured pencils to give form to characters and settings. I find it a really nice way to help move me forward if I’m stuck, plus it’s fun. I have also used magazines, to make character collages, which is a nice way to bring a character to life. When I have a draft, I print it out double spaced on A4 paper and buy a ring binder, then I can look at it on the page and make notes/ edits for the redraft.
Mainly, I write audio stories for children aged 6-12. These are for a charity Onebillion.org, but I have recently recorded some myself and launched my own collection, Rumpelstiltskin and Other Stories, which is available to download through all major digital distributors and my website. I also create and tell Sensory Stories – these are immersive stories for children and adults with special needs, but are great for early years as well. Last year, I won the National Literacy Trust’s Short Story Prize for re-imagined fairy tales and a BBC NI Writersroom competition with my husband, this has led to a couple of commissions for the BBC, which were great fun. I wrote two plays, one for children and one for adults (both based on traditional tales/ myths) with the support of the Arts Council NI, one of which became a sensory story, the other is a WIP. I am currently working on a YA/ NA novel and an MG novel.
Tale Time’s website: www.taletime.co.uk
On Twitter: @taletimestory
On Facebook, look for Tale Time Stories: https://www.facebook.com/taletimestory/