Today I am joined by Rebecca Thornton who has a fabulous guest post for us about her writing process telling us
Hi Rea thanks so much for having me!
How and where did you start?
I had always wanted to write a novel set in an all-girls boarding school. I find the idea of female friendships – especially in those vulnerable teenage years – endlessly fascinating. I had no idea how to plot and structure a book though, so I applied for the Writing a Novel course at Faber Academy.
Characters or plot?
The Exclusives started off as a romantic comedy – which is absurd given the direction it eventually went in – but when I gave the original chapters to my classmates and tutors to read at Faber, the reaction wasn’t quite as positive as I hoped! The structure was all over the shop, there was no voice and it was terrible. I was really struggling with it. I was trying to plot all the time but I still had no bloody idea how! I wanted to give up there and then.
One week, the incredible Sadie Jones come in to talk to us, specifically about character. She made an off the cuff comment about character coming before plot and then they would both eventually meet in the middle. Obviously she phrased it much more succinctly than I just have! But it all made sense. Of course character should come first (for me, at any rate). It’s the characters who drive the plot. I scrabbled around to find a suitable protagonist and the character that came into my head was dark and complicated. Nothing like the original ditzy girl that was in my first attempt. I rewrote it all with Sadie’s words in my mind and the plot totally followed from there. I didn’t plan a single word or chapter, which is why my agent probably nearly had a heart attack when she read the first draft, but I just let Josephine, the main girl, lead me by the hand.
Where do you write?
I write in cafes all over West London. I’m usually in Chiswick or The Coffee House on Acton High Street, trying not to shovel my face with muffins and feeling guilty because I’m making one cup of tea last hours.
What advice would you give to any budding writers?
For any writers out there, my main advice is, I think, probably the same as about ninety percent of every other writer out there. Write your first draft without looking back once. Do not look back. Ever. Or you will turn into stone. And finish writing for the day just when you start to feel excited about something happening. It means you’ll be looking forward to getting back to your desk the next day.
Oh and also, don’t think too much. Just do. If you overthink, you’ll never get into the writing zone, where all the magic (apparently) happens.
The Exclusives is out on December 10th in ebook and in paperback on the 7th April 2016.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour.