A little while ago, Stephen Aryan (whose debut Fantasy novel has just been picked up by Juliet Mushens, which makes us AGENT BROS) posted a ‘blog about his writing space. This was followed by one from Laura Lam and another from Lou Morgan. UPDATE – Jennifer Williams did one too, but I didn’t have the link before so here. They are great posts that I will sadly fall very short of but what they did make me realise was that the space I write in is a complete tip, and I might be able to concentrate on what I’m writing if I actually took the time to clean it up a bit.
Kind of like the scene in Limitless where Bradley Cooper cleans his apartment and is suddenly able to finish his novel.
So, thinking that, I obviously left it for a few weeks.
Anyway. Long story short (too late), I cleaned up a bit. The room isn’t done yet, but the writing space is. Kind of.
It’s a work in progress.
So, I have some fairy lights, just to brighten up the room a bit. The print on the wall is a Kay Nielsen illustration from East of the Sun West of the Moon that I put up to kind of break up the blank space. Big empty spaces create The Fear, you know?
Anyway, the walls used to be fuchsia, until I painted them with a boatload of brilliant white. It took days to cover it.
My background is a wallpaper from The Gunslinger Born. I went hunting for pictures while I was writing Gunslinger Symphony and it felt right for setting the tone. I’ve moved on to a new project while it’s out on beta, but haven’t quite found the right backdrop to go with. If anyone has a line on good fantasy art wallpapers, I’m all ears (one-eyed female mercenaries wearing sensible armour and not posing like they are on a photo shoot a bonus).
Anyway, since I’m opening up a brand new document and piling words into it, this ALSO means I have cleared my whiteboard and finally got round to putting up the cork board to go with it. They are on a wall to the right of my writing desk – close enough that I can make them out but if I want to put something up there I have to stretch my legs to do it.
So the cork board is for all my Post-Its and other scribblings. I’ve put a postcard up there which I got from Jennie Gyllblad. She’s a lovely artist and the colours and feel of the desert caravan (from her Skal project, IIRC) are close to where the current project kicks off. Kind of like a reference photo, but for writing!
Other things: Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable is one of the best resources for a Fantasy author. If you’re stuck for an idea or having a dry spell, you can just pop it open at a random page and learn something incredibly interesting that you never knew before. Granted, Wikipedia exists for much the same purpose (my Dark Fiction Magazine story The Crow Wife came from me searching for unpronounceable Welsh names in Arthurian folklore) but the internet can be a bit of a rabbit hole. Wikipedia is just a gateway drug for TV tropes, and then you’ll never be able to break free.
My pens: I’ve got a case of Stabilo point 88s in ALL THE COLOURS. They are fantastic for sketching out ideas where I write everyone’s dialogue in different colours so that I know who’s saying what. I sometimes think of comebacks or little arguments that will fit into scenes, and I rarely write attribution. It can get a bit confusing working out who was meant to say what, and it save me a lot of time. I’ve also colour coded themes and action sequences to make them work in my head.
I very rarely write whole scenes longhand. I’m a big fan of doing little snippets, and mind maps. Ye Gods, I seem to love doing mind maps. There’s something about free-associating like that that I find very relaxing to do. Plus it means I don’t have to write 100k of prose…at least not right at that moment.
Notebooks. I’ve taken all my other notebooks out of the picture, but if you want to see them you can find pictures over at Liz de Jager’s ‘blog. (I completely missed this post when it came out, sorry Liz!) However, remaining in the picture is my set of four Pac-Man 30th Anniversary Moleskine notebooks. They are really colourful and lovely and came with a set of stickers. You cannot go wrong with a set of stickers.
So yeah. That’s it. I’d take photos of my bookshelves and the TBR pile, but I don’t really want to frighten anyone.