Island Life, Word Birds & Process
With three weeks of the new year behind me, I’ve effectively managed to swerve any notion of resolutions. I am resolved to write. I’m always resolved to write! Writing is my activity of choice.
Back in the day (the Live Journal days) I wrote reams about my writing process. LJ was my La La Land of Hope while I waited for my moment, largely convinced it would never come. When it did, I created this blog, because it’s a more professional looking site & I was keen to attract a bigger audience. By & large it’s worked. Trolls notwithstanding (we all get them: mysterious beings who come & go) I have a nice following. No idea how many read me & although I appreciate each & every one of them/you who engage & comment, if others don’t, it doesn’t matter.
I still write for me, the difference is, I’ve now published two books. When people ask me what I do & I say, ‘Write books’ they nearly always reply, ‘What are they about?’ (I do the same thing myself.) Nowadays I tell them I write ghost stories with a dash of Welsh Gothic.
On Twitter yesterday, Joanne Harris (@joannechocolat) posted another in her series of Ten Tweets. This one concerned Ten Ways To Get People To Read Your Work & number 9 reads: Blog about your writing process. Post extracts from your work, and engage with other writers.
Two out of three isn’t bad. As for the middle bit, ever since I first began writing I’ve guarded my words. All my writing is first & foremost for me – including my stories. If they don’t please me, why would I imagine anyone else would want to read them? So yes, I like them polished before I share. I would never share from a work in progress (work in chaos?) & for fear of coming across as a diva, up until now I’ve shied away from even published extracts. But, as someone lovely said to me recently, time to get over myself…
Today then, I’m following Ms Harris’ advice. If you’re still with me, dear reader, please find below, a short extract from my second book, Snow Sisters.
Ghosts linger in the seams and cracks in time; the still places between human breath.
In Meredith’s dreams there was now no ambiguity. She woke with them intact, each detail imprinted. She didn’t know what to do with the weight of Angharad’s sadness. In the darkness, she made her way to Verity’s room, curled in beside her sister, and for once, Verity didn’t complain.
‘I wish she’d stop crying,’ Meredith said. ‘It’s the saddest thing in the world.’
Verity gazed at her sister’s face. Her skin was as thin as a soap bubble.
‘A bad thing really did happen to her, Verity.’
‘Yes, I think it did.’
‘Even though it’s hard for her, she doesn’t want to leave anything out.’
‘You mustn’t leave anything out either, Meri – tell me everything you can remember. I can’t bear for you to be sad too.’
‘Are we in this together then?’
Verity recalled the desolate look on the ghost’s face, how she disappeared through the wall; she felt the snowball against her skin and the sensation of fainting. The idea that she had imagined any of it now seemed improbable. Whatever purpose or plan the ghost had, Verity wasn’t going to leave her sister to deal with it alone.
And if I deny Angharad, Meri won’t. she won’t stop, whatever I decide.
Meredith nodded. Beneath her eyes the skin was still blemished with fatigue.
‘Have you had any sleep?’
‘I must have or I wouldn’t have dreamed.’
Verity stroked Meredith’s hair away from her forehead. ‘It doesn’t count. You need proper sleep without dreaming. Why don’t you stay here? I’ll read you a story if that helps.’
Meredith’s eyes brightened.
‘Will you get Nelly?’
‘Yes, then a story and we’ll both try and sleep a bit more.’
In Meredith’s room the air was damp. As Verity collected the velvet rabbit she wondered if she was grown up enough to deal with what was happening. She thought about telling her grandmother and knew she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t go back on her word. But thinking about Meredith’s bruised eyes, her determination to help a ghost neither of them could prove existed, she wasn’t sure how long she could keep her promise.
* Philip Pullman