Chatting with Miss Daisy

Phil: Wow! A proper author talking about writing on our blog. I’m still a bit amazed that you managed to pull that one off madam.

Candice: Well, I am THAT good…

Phil: I think the most surprising thing was the idea that editing was the most enjoyable part of writing a novel. I know that like most writers, as far as I am concerned the first draft contains the greatest writing the world has ever seen and I hate going back and fiddling with it. Daisy seems to consider the first draft to be a rough cut to be refined. I suppose it’s a bit like a sculptor knocking his lump of marble into something that nearly resembles a statue and then going over the stone repeatedly to refine the result.

Spending months fiddling with the opening of a book does ring a bell though. If you don’t get it right, then the reader is turned off but I wonder how easy this is when you are so close to the work. At least we can pass text to each other for feedback.

Daisy says she feels the need to write, it’s not just a means to an end, and I’m not sure that you could write a novel without passion for the story. For everything we’re produced, at least one of us has really believed in the story from the outset. Sometimes I have to write stuff just to get it out of my head. I suppose that inspiration strikes at odd times, especially when you work on historical novels. That means you have to be open to new inspiration, she must have dozens of events filed away in a mental “That will make a good story” box.

I love the idea that it’s a relief to escape into writing a novel from journalism. Disappearing into a story you have complete control over, if your characters will let you, must contrast massively with trying to work with real world events. In a novel you don’t run the risk of history proving you wrong either as many columnists found to their cost when the much derided Olympics were succesful last year.

One surprise was that Daisy writes in cafes. I’d always assumed that as succesful writer would quickly sort themselves out an office to hide in. Presumably in the part of London she lives in, the residents aren’t constantly interupting her typing to say, “Are you that Daisy Waugh? I saw you on the nolanparker blog the other day. They’re very good aren’t they. You must be so proud.”. Good to see that I’m not the only one who find the Interweb a drain on my productivity though!

Not sure about going for a run as thinking time. Far to energetic for me.

Candice: Hmmmm.

Phil: Interesting point about people fiddling with smart phones on the tube. When I visit the capital, I always reckoned you could tell who worked there because the paperback would be out and open as soon the moment its owner stopped moving on the train. Reading was an unselfconcious thing to do. As she says, there are less novels and more Angry Birds entertaining commuters nowadays. As a writer, you have to say this is a bad thing and not just because fewer books will be sold. I’m sure someone will suggest that many will be reading e-books but I suspect that once you are using a screen, the dreaded web will offer other temptations. You can’t check your e-mail in a paperback.

One thing I do get is the joy of seeing your book on sale. I’ve shuffled magazine racks in Smiths before now if something I’ve writen is in print. This couldn’t compare to the first time our novel was printed up for test readers and I picked the copies out of the box. As I recall, the only other person who would have been as thrilled as me was on holiday at the time. If that happens when The Book is published, I’m going to the printers on my own. I don’t care. I’ll be the one in Waterstones fondling the covers.

2 Comments

Filed under Candice, Interviews, Phil, Writing

2 responses to “Chatting with Miss Daisy

  1. I like a good fondle in a book shop too. A book cover and design I particularly like is Arthur & George by Julian Barnes, 2005 paperback edition.

  2. Pingback: After the darkness – ruminating on our chat with Julia Crouch | nolanparker

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