Weirdest Processes of Famous Writers–You’re Not So Strange!

You know what makes me sad lately? People remarking (or in some cases, telling) on other writer’s methods of writing, working, or the process. No one person is like another, and no one person’s methods of writing are like another. Here’s some famous examples;

— In order to stave off procrastination, French novelist Victor Hugo wrote both Les Misérables and The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame in–you guessed it–his Birthday Suit. Being nude meant he wouldn’t be able to leave his house, and as a safety measure, he’d also instruct his valet to hide his clothes.

— As well as chain-smoking and index cards, Aaron Sorkin, has a habit of acting out his zippy dialogue while gazing at his own reflection. In 2010, he worked himself into such a frenzy, that he actually head-butted a mirror. “I wish I could say I was in a bar fight,” confessed Sorkin, “but I broke my nose writing.”

— Mary Shelley kept a domesticated 23-foot-long boa constrictor in her writing studio. She would wrap the snake around her shoulders while she wrote. When the snake grew restless and squeezed, only then would she allow herself to stop writing for the day.

— Like a LOT of writers (including me!), coffee was Honoré de Balzac’s poison. But he wasn’t drinking Lattes. He would drink large quantities of black coffee, ensuring that he could write for a full 48 hours straight. Yikes!

— In Cold Blood novelist Truman Capote described himself as a ‘horizontal author’. “I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy,” he told The Paris Review in 1957. “I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis.”

— The author of Blue Angel, Francine Prose, wears her husband’s “red and black checked flannel pajama pants and a T-shirt.” In a 1998 interview with Kate Bolick at The Atlantic, Prose says, “Fortunately, or unfortunately, we live in a strange apartment with one twenty-foot-high window facing a brick wall, about a foot and a half away. Not much of a view. So when I’m at my desk I feel like I can work undistracted. I might as well be in the country. Writing while facing a wall, incidentally, seems to me the perfect metaphor for being a writer.”

— Not only did the Three Musketeers author Alexandre Dumas insist upon himself a colour-coded system of writing (pink for non-fiction, blue for fiction and yellow for poetry), he reportedly sat below the Arc de Triomphe in Paris every morning and ate an apple for inspiration. An apple a day, keeps the procrastination away, clearly.

— William Faulkner preferred to type with his toes instead of his fingers. He kept his shoes on his hands while he worked.

— It is widely known that Hemingway, following years of work in his basement genetics lab, invented a new kind of cat with six toes. Why? I’ve no idea. But before he sat down to write, Hemingway would go over his writing goals for the day with these cats. He refused to share such things with other, normal toed cats, which he considered to be poor listeners. They’re also usually incredibly disinterested, I find. He also famously said he wrote 500 words a day, mostly in the mornings to avoid the heat. In a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934, he wrote, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”

— Visitors looking for T.S. Elliot at a hideaway on Charing Cross Road were asked to inquire at the porter’s lodge for a man known only as “The Captain.” Upstairs, Eliot’s face was “tinted green with powder to look cadaverous.”

 

So the next time you think the way someone keeps track of their writing, writes at all, where or how they do it is odd, remember that it’s the end product that matters. Everyone’s writing process will be different from yours, and if it’s especially eccentric, you’re in good company! 🙂

 

*Thanks to MSN.com, Wikipedia, and Shortlist.com for the examples.

Welcome To The Family Bares Its Fangs Today!

Welcome to the tour for Welcome To The Family! A debut vampire novel by Caroline F Levy, it’s out now at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and Moon Rose Publishing. Why not check out a little more about the book below?

Blurb

“Do you believe in things that go bump in the night?”

At only a few hours old, Angela is left on the steps of St Paul’s church. Alone in the world, the only link she has to her past is a pink blanket bearing an emblem with two crossed swords and a snake.

A troubled childhood spent in orphanages leads to Angela attempting to rebuild her shattered life as an adult. Meeting the priest who found her eighteen years previously, she gets a job and a boyfriend, and settles into her new life.

Until she meets Jack.

Drawn to her new boss, she throws herself into work, feeling an unusual bond with people she hasn’t known very long.

Angela becomes embroiled in this new life, feeling a change within herself. A change which isn’t altogether human. Within this change she finds a terrifying secret…a secret which involves her past, her present, and definitely her future…

Welcome To The Family

Trailer

And now for the interview! 🙂

1.      Welcome to Notes on a Page, Angela. Sit down, grab a drink. What’s your poison? I’ve got G&T, Martini…all sorts! 

Hi Miranda, Thanks don’t mind if I do… Hmm *looks longingly at Miranda’s charioted artery* A nice glass of red would be nice. *smiles, and accidently shows a little fang*

2.      Ah, my mistake, I forgot about the fangs. But you didn’t know about this at the beginning of your story, right? How was it to find out you were a vampire?

No, I grew up not knowing who I am, or where I came from. So finding out I’m a vampire was a total douse… to say the least, still getting used to these little beauties. *smiles, showing major fang*

3.      It can’t have been an easy process, how did you deal with it? Have you settled into being one easily?

At first I didn’t want to believe, I could be a member of the un-dead. *lol* Obviously I am alive and well, it was hard going at first. Having Jack to help me through the change was good. Okay fantastic… And of course Roger is always near for support, or to just be my cuddly bear, if needed. I am settling into life as a vamp ok, just want to get on with things now, and enjoy what life throws my way.

4.      And that wasn’t the only huge event in your life either. Not only did you find out you were a vampire, but you also got to meet your mother—who you had never met…how was that meeting?

Meeting Jesaray, mum… was difficult. Neither of us are, hmm forthcoming with our emotions, but I could feel a connection with her straight away. I know where I get my stubbornness from now.

5.      That brings us onto your nemesis, of course…your half-brother, Erick. Do you think he’s going to cause some trouble?

I have mixed feelings about Erick. I can see why he is upset with the way our Father treats him, but then again it’s not my fault, I didn’t even know they existed.  I can see if him being trouble though. Mum has told me, I actually get the stubbornness from our Father. If that is the case, there will be no changing his mind. *looks sad* would have been nice to have had a how can I put it, a non-dysfunctional family.

6.      Without giving too much away for those who haven’t read your story yet, you were a little disappointed by someone we thought you were going to fall head-over-fangs in love with—but it didn’t happen! Is there anyone new on the horizon?

Oh… That would be telling, *winks* maybe, maybe not lol. I honestly don’t know at the moment Miranda, my life is such a rollercoaster at the moment, and I am going to take each day as it comes. Plus I’m only young, I have my whole life ahead of me, that’s a long time to be with any one person. Maybe one day though.

7.      And finally…do you think your author, Caroline F Levy, penned you well in your book?

Caroline didn’t do too badly, might have had me hanging there at times. * shakes head* she is totally addicted to coffee, and thought nothing of leaving us midway through… *coughs*   well you know… to go get a refill But I think she has started the tale off okay. We have a lot more to share.

8.      Thank you for being here, Angela. Any final words for our readers?

*smiles, showing fang* Thank you Miranda for having me over, Hmm well not sure what to say, apart from it was nice to meet you all, and I hope you enjoy reading my story, there is so much more to tell, I do-so hope you will be joining me, and cheering me along, for the next instalment of my family’s saga.

Author Bio

Caroline F Levy

I was born in Chatham, Kent in 1970. I now live in Yorkshire with my daughter and our five mad cats.

My first memories of any book would have been my mother reading The Enormous Turnip. It must have driven her mad, as it was always our first choice when asked what we should read tonight.

I grew up with the classics; Little Women, The Railway Children, but it would have been The House That Died and Bluebeard that I remember wanting to read.

I can remember writing a verse for the school song, and being chosen as a winner for what was then 3rd year juniors. I stopped reading so much in my late teens to my mid twenties. Life seemed to always be too busy for that pile of books I so wanted to read. It was when I went into hospital to have my daughter, that I had time to read again–and thankfully I haven’t stopped since.

However, it wasn’t until my late twenties that I realised I wanted to write. I have spent a few years trying to complete an online creative writer’s course; without much success, but it led me to what I am writing now. So never give up if you really want to write!

I am very influenced by Fantasy fiction / Horror, most of the books I read are in this genre. I have many Authors I like to follow; Anne Rice was very influential in the beginning. I also discovered Laurel K Hamilton and many, many more. I could go on about different Authors I like to read. However, I will say that this year I have also discovered there are literally, well, probably thousands of very talented Indie Authors out there. And a very welcoming and friendly bunch they are too, but I digress–yes, I get very excited about the subject of books!

I have finished my first novel called Welcome To The Family, which will be published April 29th 2013. I also have other novels in the pipeline, Nikki’s Revenge and Protecting The Family, due out later in the year.

Author Links

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A Day In The Life Of…Trish Marie Dawson!

This is the first in our special series of posts, all entitled ‘A Day In The Life Of’. We’ll follow different authors as they go about a normal–for a writer!–day. So let’s welcome Trish Marie Dawson as she fights applesauce and the FBI, just to get to her current WIP. 

*Yawn* It’s Saturday morning and do I get to sleep in? Of course not. Because like every weekend, the four year old decides to wake up with the sun and sneak into the living room, where I’ll find him standing on the counter and digging through the cupboards for treats. I roll over and poke the man snoring beside me, but he only groans in protest and rolls over. Dad’s not getting up.

If I squeeze my eyes shut for a few more seconds, I can almost pretend like I’m asleep – until the cat jumps onto my face to say good morning. At this point it’s useless to deny my full bladder a reprieve, so to the bathroom I go. The cat follows, as he does every morning, as if he doesn’t know what I could possibly be doing in there.

The first screams and hollers of the day come from the other room, after the nine year old has denied the four year old access to his favorite morning cartoon. Or perhaps she has sat on his face in an attempt to keep him from sticking his tongue into her third bowl of cereal. I curse as I trip across the laundry on the floor and the size 13 shoes, even though there is a perfectly good laundry basket and closet nearby, to hurry down the hall, weaving around matchbox cars and small toys that have escaped the kids’ rooms. The cat jogs next to me, dodging my slapping feet on the hardwood, coming precariously close to getting stepped on more than once.

I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes when the living room comes into focus, and I find the kids sitting on the couch, happily eating out of a carton of ice cream. After confiscating the contraband, the four year old throws himself on the floor screaming and kicking, and the nine year old pouts. I have to nag her to feed the animals and let the dog out to pee. Both cats scream at me for breakfast as I make my way through the room, picking up various items that were left out the day before, including two ties, someone’s bath towel, laundry that was folded and dumped onto the floor so the four year old could play in the basket, random dishes, pencils and papers and textbooks and a plastic toy plane that’s affixed to the ground by something sticky. This is when I remember we are out of paper towels.

When I do make it to the kitchen, I see that the kitchen fairy has skipped my house the night before. I grumble a string of curse words as I pull my favorite mug out of the dishwasher and discover it died during the wash cycle. I wash my mug, rather than get a clean one, because it has my Beauty and the Beast character on it and makes me happy when I sit down at the computer. And then I wash the dishes, because there’s nothing clean to stir my coffee. Explains why the kids were eating ice cream with measuring spoons.

One hour later I’m at the computer. The news is on CNN despite groans from the kids. But I don’t care because this is my time to figure out my schedule for the day. Email – check. Amazon Reports – check. Separate the fighting children – check. Facebook – check. Take the light saber away from the boy before he whacks the dog with it – check. Back on Facebook to check messages and share pictures of cute cats – check. Enroll myself in Pinterest Anonymous – check. Open up Word and decide which WIP I’m in the mood to work on – check. Settle the nine year old down at the table for the fifth time with her school books on a weekend because she didn’t want to do it the day before – check. Open up a separate window on the internet to browse for research on how to turn the safety off a gun, and hope that the FBI is not monitoring my computer surfing – check. Explain why cats don’t like being squirted with water guns or used as pillows – check. Talk shop with the M-7 Authors as they go about their days – check. Take the light saber away from the four year old – again – check. Explain that cats have nipples – check.

After a whopping ten minutes of all of that – I’m ready to settle in and do some writing while the Muse is around. At least another hour passes of me getting up and down – tending to children, animals and chores before I can write. Taking breaks to homeschool, referee and prepare meals, I nearly die twice after slipping in applesauce and a puddle of juice that was left on the kitchen floor. By the time early afternoon arrives, my Muse has become a nag and I can’t find my left flip-flop though it was JUST on my foot. During quiet time I hammer out what I can – editing will come later. Realizing I need to know how an inexperienced person would stitch up a knife wound, I Bing it and then look over my shoulder for the FBI again. In a moment that can only be considered paranoia-induced, I email a writer friend and ask that they delete my browsing history when I die.

Dinner comes and goes in a blur. Bedtime arrives even faster. Probably because I know there’s Moscato in the fridge and chocolate in the cupboard. After the kids have been tucked in and the four year old has been carried back to his room five times, I finally sit back down at the computer to do it all over again.

When the house is truly quiet, I attack the DVR like there’s no tomorrow and weep softly on the couch when I realize the chocolate was eaten yesterday. With a sigh, I pet the cat and stare blankly at the TV. Tomorrow is Sunday, which means I get to do this all over again. But I will do it gladly because I’m a Mom and I’m a Writer. It’s just what I do.

-Trish Marie Dawson

Trish Marie Dawson

Trish was born and mostly raised in San Diego, California where she lives now with her family and pets. She’s been writing short stories and poetry since high school after an obsession with Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’. After over fifteen years of crazy dreams and an overactive imagination, Trish began her first book ‘I Hope You Find Me’ in December of 2011. When Trish isn’t writing, she’s homeschooling her amazing daughter and mildly autistic son, reading whatever she can get her hands on, or enjoying the Southern California sun. As a strict Vegetarian, Trish holds a special place in her heart for animal rights and dashes into the backyard weekly to rescue lizards and mice from her mini-lab/cocker spaniel mixed dog, Zoey…who is always getting into some sort of trouble.

TRISH’S BOOKS

I Hope You Find Me (2012)
Dying to Forget (2012)
Dying to Remember (2012)
Hawke & the Beast – Once Upon A Twisted Time (2012)
LOST and FOUND (2013)
The Well Collector (2013)

COMING SOON

Dying To Return – Book 3 of The Station Series (Summer 2013)
Behind the Glass
The Last Faerie of Failynn

Please check her Author Pages for more details: http://www.facebook.com/WriterTrishMarieDawson (Facebook) her Amazon page, or follow Trish’s Blog at: http://writertrishmdawson.wordpress.com/

Want to write your own post in this series? Go over to our page and take a look by clicking here!

Cover Reveal For Dying To Return

The 3rd installment of The Station Series has a cover and it is beautimus!

Thanks must be given to the designer, Deb Rogers, for her time and talent – thank you, friend!!!

So…feel free to sit back and stare for a bit…I am. 😀

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00071]

 

Dying to Return is the 3rd book in the Young Adult Fantasy The Station Series. Piper Willow’s adventure in the afterlife continues as she struggles to discover who she is and what is expected of her. Faced with decisions that could change everything, she must weigh her desire to be with the ones she has come to love, or satisfy her curiosity and find out what lies beyond her world with someone new. What Piper experiences and the choices she makes could not only alter the delicate inner workings of the Station, but the delicate balance that Piper has managed to maintain inside herself. In the end, will it all be worth it?

 

Excerpt from the book:

A heaviness settles over the table and Andella is no longer giggling. “Why did you do it, Piper Willow?”

“Andella!” her father hisses. He seems embarrassed for her, but she holds my stare across the wide table. I see nothing sinister, just simple curiosity in her eyes.

I reach for my blue-tinted glass and sip at the water. Gulping down air, I try on my best smile and elbow Rush slightly when I feel his gentle prodding at the locked gates my mind.

“I can’t answer that. I mean…” I pause, allowing myself to reflect, “I guess I do know why. But I don’t know why I thought killing myself was the only option.” With a shrug, I sip more water.

Andella reclines slightly in her chair and nods. “Unlike my brother,” she shoots Rush a warm smile, “I have not traveled to your world, but I have seen into it. There is much sadness there. Such a loss of potential. I think you are different though. I think on some level, you must have known there was something else beyond your life. Did you not?”

I twirl the fabric napkin on my lap while considering the question carefully. “I think I just wanted that life to be over.” I feel the tears building up in my eyes as my voice drops to just above a whisper, “Some people call it Heaven, a better place after life. I didn’t care about Heaven or Hell, I just wanted out.”

A large hand reaches toward me and I look up through my blurred vision to find Andulen’s hand atop mine. Rush is also touching me, and though she’s clear across the table, I feel Andella’s calming presence as well.

“Child. You cannot fit your life into a square coffer. It will find a way to spill out over the sides and explore that which surrounds it. Even once that coffer is lidded, your life doesn’t cease to exist – you carry on. That is what you have done, Piper Willow. That is why you sit here with us this evening, eating and drinking and breathing. Your life – it will always struggle to stay outside that coffer. Do you understand this?”

I nod at Andulen and smile as he squeezes my hand before releasing it. My voice wouldn’t work even if I had words appropriate to use, so I sip from my tinted glass again.

“Now. I have serious matters to discuss about this Earth of yours. The first thing, a question I have had on my mind since my Son here breached the subject to me.” He pauses with his face set into a hard expression and I gulp. “Can you explain to me what Rugby is?”

RELEASING SUMMER OF 2013