Archive for April, 2013

This weekend’s difficult writing questions

Here’s the list of questions I’ve been asking myself over the weekend:
Is it true nothing can grow under a holly tree?
Do polar bears roar?
Do reindeer trot?
What do trolls smell like?
When did the Maori first arrive in Aotearoa?
How many pomegranate seeds did Persephone eat?
Do Venezuelans wear ponchos?
What colour are an ibis’s legs?
Do German children put spiders on their Christmas trees?
What was Anat the goddess of?
Where is Finnmark?
Can you make an arrow from dragon tendon?
I’ve been researching all of these questions in order to be sure that the stories I’m retelling for a myth and folklore collection are as accurate and realistic as any book with talking reindeer and warty trolls can ever be. (It’s a collection of winter tales, hence the polar bears and the Christmas trees.)
And I found answers to all of them.
That’s the reason writers love the internet. You can just type in ‘reindeer trot’ or ‘polar bear roar’ and a few clicks later, you have an answer. But the reason writers get annoyed by the internet is that you are then tempted to watch reindeer trotting, or listen to polar bears roaring, and before you know it, you’ve lost an hour of writing time…
So I tend to put together a whole list of questions (like the list above) and do them all at once when I need a break from writing or editing. Then I can concentrate on ticking them off one by one, rather than getting distracted by any particular question.
This works in theory. Though roaring polar bears are quite hard to ignore…
But now that the winter tales book is drafted, checked and sent to my editor, I need something else to write.
So, now for the biggest question of all:
What am I writing next?
The answer is I’M WRITING A NOVEL and I’m starting now. Apart from being fairly sure it doesn’t have any trolls, reindeer or polar bears in it, I can’t tell you what it’s about. But I can tell you that I’m very excited about it….