Circ – An author’s reflections – Giselle Thompson

We at Pigeon Park Press are very excited about the upcoming novel, Circ, written by ten different authors as part of the Ten To One project. You can get your own tickets for the launch (and claim a free e-book on the night!) by going to http://www.birmingham-box.co.uk/event/circ-can-ten-people-write-one-novel/ 

Between now and the launch on 28th November, we will be blogging interviews with all the authors plus some additional guest blogs and bonus material from the novel.

Today, Giselle Thompson reflects on the experience of being an author in the Ten To One project…


The writing journey seems to me like being a householder. You start off in a bedsit with a few things, and over the years move up the property ladder, get more furniture and belongings, have a family. Finally your house is full. If you are good at homemaking, it will look like one of those houses in the magazines, elegant, polished, and spacious. That is the novel. Then you have to buy another house and move out, before it all fills up with too much clutter, and the work starts all over again.


Having written lots of short stories (bedsits) I am now putting together my first novel, or at least the first one that I think I have a chance of completing. I’m still at the stage when I’ve moved in to my house but a lot of the rooms are empty, apart from a few cardboard boxes I have yet to unpack. Working on a collaborative novel has been like being a temporary lodger in a shared house. Some cooperation is needed, and we have to follow the landlord’s rules.




There are benefits. For a new writer like me, a novel is a terrifying and impossible prospect. It’s been good to see the novel writing process from start to finish and how it’s kept going by the confidence and ability of others to deliver. Nowadays, the reality for most writers is that they have to have another job to pay for the electricity to run their computer. For the part-time writer a collaborative novel is a great project, because it doesn’t take as much time, and other people can keep it going when you’re busy earning your living.

 
There are scary parts too. The worst part was being voted off the project after the first chapter. Someone had to be, I guess, but it inhibited me from interacting with the other writers. The other thing I really struggled with was working with other people’s characters. Bobby, for example, I pictured as a white chav, but later found out he was a black man in a cashmere coat. I couldn’t hear his voice, and even after the first draft was finished, and I went back and revised his description and dialogue in my chapter I couldn’t really write him. Thank heavens for editors.

 

The editing process for the novel has been interesting to watch, and it really shows the importance of having beta-readers. I find that if I read through a long piece of writing for comment, it is impossible to maintain focus throughout. I won’t pick up on everything that needs changing. Different people pick out different things. The many people involved in reading and feedback have generated so many comments and ideas that the final draft has become very polished.

 

Finally the promotion and publicity process is a completely new experience for me. Working in the health service as I do, I’m not used to selling; we have waiting lists because we are oversubscribed. Yet clearly there’s no point writing a book if you don’t tell people about it. So I’m looking forward to seeing how this works, with YouTube films, social media, magazine articles, launch party and so forth. It’s definitely an experience I’d recommend to other writers.
 
Giselle’s first collection of short stories – A Receiver of Stolen Words – is available on Amazon now.

The Ten To One launch event is on 28th November 2014 (7pm – 8:30pm) at the Library of Birmingham. Tickets are available from their website: http://www.birmingham-box.co.uk/event/circ-can-ten-people-write-one-novel/?tab=6#unit-production-dates . Keep up to date with Ten To One by liking the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TenToOneNovel

 

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