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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Blog hopping with Alex and Karina

Book club

Last week, Alex Smith posted a fantastic blog about her experience with indie publishers and her upcoming novel Devilskein and Dearlove (which is brilliant and you must read it. See my review here.)

In her blog, Alex tagged Karina Magdalena Szczurek and myself in her blog hop, and tasked us with answering a few questions about the writing process.

See Karina’s responses here.

Here are mine:

What am I working on?
Various projects. I’m always working on something, be it a novel or a short story. Some stories fall behind while others stick fast, and those are the ones that become novels.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Well I’d like to think that my work is unique in that it is mine. I write the stories that I want to tell and not those that genre dictates. My work is usually a little darker than other contemporary young adult fiction, but that’s just my particular flavour. Here’s my recipe:

• A heaped tablespoon of personal experience
• Equal measures of research and imagination
• A teaspoon of perseverance
• Two tablespoons of passion
• A pinch of darkness
• Lots and lots of coffee

Why do I write what I do?
I love writing about young people. Their stories are so heartwarming and exciting. Everything is new or happening for the first time, and they’re just figuring out the world and themselves. But really the stories come to me and I write them.

How does my writing process work?
I always start by writing a story in its entirety – short story and novel both. Then I print out the whole thing and go through each page with a blue pen (black doesn’t show up as well on the print) and make notes as I go and circle spelling errors. Once I’ve captured these changes on the manuscript I’ll go through it again on screen, changing as I go.

I then send this draft to trusted friends to read and feedback to me. Honesty is key here. I’m not looking for someone to tell me that my story is great. I’m looking for practical notes. If a scene isn’t working or I’ve got something horribly wrong, I want to know.

Once I’ve made all these changes I print out the document again and repeat the blue pen process, then capture the changes and re-read onscreen. This is the final draft I’ll end up submitting, but the revision process doesn’t end here, but starts again at both agent and editor level. A novel is never really finished till it’s on the shelves.

I usually create a writing playlist that captures the mood of the novel. I’ll listen to this throughout the drafting and re-drafting process.

I also answered a few questions about young adult fiction for Izak De Vries’ on his blog. Check it out here.


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