We were talking about the business of writing when Jane was up for the launch – sitting in the restaurant trying to decide whether the red wine smelled of those rubber bands they give you at swimming pools, you know: the ones with the key on them? – and how we go about it. Me: I’m a chapter person. Each chapter gets written as a separate file and then it all gets combined into a single document, right at the very end. This way, I assure myself, I’m a lot less likely to accidentally loose everything, plus there’s a pleasing sense of achievement, watching the chapters build up in the folder.
Not so Jane, or James either. They are ‘one big dirty chunk’ people, just writing the whole thing in one huge file. Stick in a page break between chapters and off you go again. This is unwholesome. This is naughty. This is not the way we do things in the land of the rising beard.
Not only do I have separate chapters, but because I like everything to be all ‘styled up and tidy’ I have little intro passages for each template. Not much, just two paragraphs, a different one for each book.
Halfhead was written against:
There is little here, only ghosts.
They dance between the molecules that make up the universe and they are so very, very angry.
There is Darkness here. Not a thin veil of night, but the deep, cloying black of the grave.
Death comes for us all and he doesn’t care if we’re ready. We dance to death’s tune: he is the piper and we all must pay the price.
Book two (still labouring away without a name):
There wasn’t a lot that could be done with a small spaniel and a packet of glue, but the man in the aardvark-coloured trouser-suit had done his best.
More happy lumpies went in here and that made everyone smile!
And every chapter of the current book starts life as:
When it came time to insert the weasel, Jane wasn’t sure she really wanted to go through with it. Not with Stephen being stone cold dead and all. But then apparently, this was what he’d always wanted.
Taking a deep breath, she grabbed the ferocious wee mammal by the tail and got out the Vaseline. Stephen wanted weasels? Stephen could have weasels...
Can you spot the point where I stopped taking it all so seriously? And it all seemed like such a good idea at the time.
So: are you a ‘chaptery sex-god’, or a ‘single file freak’?