Monday 2 March 2015

A Writer's Life

I was wondering what to post about this time and thought it might be interesting for you to know how I work. Are you a planner or a writer that doesn't know what they're going to be doing from one day to the next?
Strangely I am a mixture of the two. When I'm writing a new book I need to have the title first, then the names of the characters and then I have a rough idea in my head what the story is about. That is the extent of my planning for my Regency stories – for my World War II sagas there is usually considerably more.
I keep a record of any names and places– butlers/maids/horses/siblings and family members etc etc then I can make sure I don't use the wrong name and also that I avoid using the same names too often in subsequent books.
I just start writing and then after the first couple of chapters the book begins to write itself.
However, I am a compulsive list maker and plan everything else in my life  to the nth degree. I have already mapped out my work schedule for 2015 – I know exactly what I intend to write – when it must be ready to be sent to the editor/proofreader and when I need to get the cover designed. I have also mapped out what I will publish in 2016 – although I haven't decided the order in which the books will come out – just what I want to write.
When I start a new project I enter in my diary where I expect to be in the book on any given day so that I know when it will be finished. I aim to write ten thousand words a week, as well as keep up with social media, editing and proofreading, research, and all the other things that are part of a busy writer's life.
I am also my husband's carer and try and take him out at least four times a week in the mornings – add to that my three times a week at the gym – and you will see why I need  to plan everything carefully.
Out in July 2015
I try and meet up with friends two or three  times a month and this year I am going to the RNA conference on the Saturday, the ALLi conference on the Friday after the London Book Fair, as well as going to two London shows which will involve me being out for twelve hours at a time. Obviously, because of my home circumstances, going out needs a lot of organisation if my husband is going to be taken care of satisfactorily in my absence.
I love what I do and wouldn't have it any other way. If I didn't have my writing, and all the friends I've made all over the world because of it, I might well feel sorry for myself.
Next time  I will post about 'Victoria's War - Shadows' part one of my two-part family saga which will be published towards the end of this month. This book is very important to me as it was inspired by my mother's memoirs.
Fenella J Miller


  1. I really admire the way you work, Fenella. Like you, I don't plan my books to the nth degree - I normally just start with an idea and the main characters, and let them lead me. Sometimes the title's the last thing! But my daily life is not planned out at all, although it was until I retired. Having 3 daughters and 6 grandchildren who always come first if they need me or want to see me is part of the reason. But other than that, I write whenever I want to. It's my relaxation.

  2. Sheila, thanks for dropping by. I get up so early I have 3 hours to write -more than enough to keep up with my planning. I if I had six young grandchildren I would do less writing too.