The Novel Approach welcomes TA Moore today on the Labyrinth of Stone blog tour.
Writers are creatures of habit. Not all – but most – have a few routines that in place that lubricate the flow of inspiration. They write in a specific place or play a specific song; they write in the morning or at night; they write long hand or only on their desktop. Just anything that sets their brain up to expect ‘creativity incoming, here and now’. Oh, and sometimes the habits are ingrained enough to count as ‘rituals’ and get a bit odd. I know one quite well-respected local author who writes with his trousers undone so if he needs to get up to pee it doesn’t interrupt his train of thought too much. I think that verges over to the odd. I mean, that’s fair isn’t it?
Of course, I’m not one to talk. If I see a magpie I rhyme off ‘Hello, Mr Magpie, how’s your wife’ to ward off bad luck. I mean, yes, my website is a bit magpie themed – I love them, and there’s a family that make their nest in my back garden every year. They still give me the superstitious twitches.
As far as my writing goes, though, I think I stick on the right side of habit. However, it definitely doesn’t feel right if I try and write without the trappings. So what are my habits? Ok.
This depends what I am doing. If I am plotting or planning story elements then it has to be on paper. I have stacks of notebooks with story ideas and plot outlines, with lots of crossed out bits and arrows linking different sections. My brain just can’t plot things on a computer screen, I need the tactile involvement of my hands, paper and a pen.
Writing is always on a computer. For years it was in a word document, but I’ve moved to Google Docs in the last few years. The clean interface is just what my brain needs for writing, plus it means I can find it anywhere.
I can write on almost any PORTABLE computing device. Laptop, tablets…I’ve written done a few lines of my phone if inspiration struck when I was on the move. I find it really difficult to write creatively on a desktop. I think it is spending years working and writing non-fic on the desktop. When I sit down at a desk, my brain expects something analytic and it takes lots of fidgeting about to settle down and get words out.
My favourite place to write is the living room, wedged in the corner of the sofa with my laptop balanced half on my knee and half on the arm of the sofa. This is the position that lets inspiration flow unhindered – and screws up my knee and back something fierce. The brain wants what the brain wants though!
Coffee shops. I know, I know. You’re thinking that should have been in location, not background, right. Thanks to coffitivity, though, you can bring the coffee shop to wherever you are! I like background noise when I write. Complete silence is distracting in its own way. I can’t do music. I usually have playlists associated with what I’m writing, but I listen to them in the car or on public transport. Or in the shower, I have a cool waterpoof radio with bluetooth so I can play my phone through it. I pay too much attention to music to have anything with words on while I write, and instrumental music usually makes me sleepy.
I’m too nosy to actually have conversations going on in the background, I just stop writing and start eavesdropping. Coffivitiy is the perfect blend of nonsense noise and reassuring coffee sounds.
Big bottle of water. I should probably drink less – I pee too much for productivity – but it tends to be a place-holder for me. When I need to think, I sit and hydrate absently until my brain clicks in. I’ve tried tea. The problem is that there’s too much potential for faffing around with tea – making it, waiting for it to cool enough to drink, forgetting about it and taking a gulp of cold tea, and then making a whole new cup… It ends up being an excuse.
Pre-Writing Internet Checklist
Before I write anything, I check my Flipboard for any interesting news and then give a quick once over to the Guardian G2 site. Anything I think might be useful, or that I want to come back, I stick into evernote for later.
Man, writing it down it sounds like it takes ages for me to get into the writing frame of mind! It doesn’t really. Most of these are already set up and ready to go. The only one that takes time is the last one, and I tend to scan any longform articles and read them properly in evernote later.
And that’s how I write!
Blurb: 10 years ago the Black Rapture transported thousands of people, seemingly at random, from Earth to the strange, inimical world they call the Labyrinth. Will Teller was one of them. Surviving that meant joining an army and becoming better at killing than he’s comfortable with. It’s enough upheaval for anyone’s life. The only problem is, apparently no-one told his commanding officer that.
Pride, and heart, stung by abandonment, the icily controlled General Nathan Kearney has decided that Teller can either find the wayward lover, or he can take his place in Nathan’s bed. That’s pretty good motivation for a straight guy, only thing is – Teller’s sexuality seems to have gone a bit Magic-8 Ball on that issue. Suddenly Nathan’s starting to look pretty good, and the only question is whether or not Teller wants to be the consolation prize?
Author Bio: As a small child TA Moore genuinely believed that she was a Cabbage Patch Kid and no-one had told her. This was the start of a lifelong attachment to the weird and fantastic. These days she lives in Northern Ireland with an unimpressed cat and her friends have a rule that she can only send them three weird and disturbing links a day (she still holds that a DIY penis bifurcation guide is interesting, not disturbing).
TA Moore believes that adding ‘in space’ to anything makes it at least 40% cooler, will try to pet pretty much any dog she meets and once lied to her friend that she had climbed all the way up to Tintagel, when actually she’d only gotten to the beach and chickened out. She writes about vampires, werewolves and ghosts (*whispers* ‘in space!) and once wrote zombie erotica to prove it could be done.