- Writing by hand. On scrap paper. With no lines.
- Writing without having thought about the novel for at least three years and then spending several months on the pre-writing.
- Writing without researching anything but littering the work with brackets saying “check.”
- Writing about myself. I swore I never would. My life is too dull to be a story. But apparently it isn’t. This isn’t a memoir, though, or an autobiography. It’s a retrospective fictionalisation of a little girl I hardly remember and mostly pity. In other words, it’s experimental.
- Writing about the city where I grew up. I swore I never would. I hated it. I left it as soon as I could. I hated that I couldn’t get rid of the part of me that had lived there and was shaped by it. I don’t even mention the city by name in the novel and won’t here.
- Stream of conscience as a narrative mode.
Although, to be honest, I don’t actually think this is what I am doing. It’s just that compared to the very strict controls I impose on myself when I write, the writing I’m doing now is very, very free. And yet, even in its freedom, there is an aspect of tight control: I always know exactly where the narrative is going. I allow it to ebb and flow and find myself following harrowing passages with lighter ones, something I’ve had to work on before but here seems to be coming naturally, without thinking. I love it when an unexpected scenes evolve out of ones that are planned, when I find myself writing about something forgotten.
This is very much about memory. In memoirs and biographies, authors TRY to remember what they did and when and with whom. They write about the things they remember. I’m writing about the things I don’t remember. When I do find a clear memory, I write about it as if I am in that memory, living it, not looking at it in retrospect – although there are some retrospective comments. In some cases, without them, the story would lose its context.
But best of all, I’m loving this. My writing is free for the first time in years. Even if it’s never published, at least I can say it was an exercise in unblocking myself. Also, it makes me feel better. Over four months of self-published author admin nearly wiped me out. Writing is what works for me. Even if no one reads me, I’d rather be writing than anything else.