The Writing Process Blog Tour – 16th May 2014

Blog-TourSo, today’s stop for the Writers’ Blog Tour is all about me! (Thanks to Vanessa Wester, who invited me to host the tour this week)

So, this blog tour has been created in order to learn about each others’ writing processes and their work. So here’s a bit about me and my work:

About Michael J Holley — my ‘official’ bio:

Michael J Holley writes comedy fiction. He is the author of the novels ‘Plaster Scene’ and ‘The Great Corporate Escape’, and also a collection of short stories, ‘The Christmas Number One (and other Christmas Stories)’. He was born in Southampton, England in 1977, and since then has moved to Liverpool and Manchester, but now he lives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight with his wife and two children.

Having been the taller half of the rhythm section for the indie-rock band Aura4, Michael still enjoys listening to proper music and tinkering around on his guitars. He also loves watching and playing football, watching comedy, reading (of course) and drinking coffee.

His next full-length novel, Blind Faith, will be out in the summer of 2014.

And now onto the questions about my writing process!

1)     What am I working on?

Right now, I’m ensconced in my third novel, Blind Faith. It’s going to a romantic-comedy, along the lines of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls. “When you’ve been betrayed, the hardest thing in the world is to learn how to trust someone again. It’s so hard that perhaps you’d end up living a lie yourself, even if it was ridiculous?”

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Most books written in the romantic-comedy genre are written by women. I don’t have anything against this, I like women, some of my best friends are women, but I think it’s interesting when you see the same genre written from a male perspective. It throws up different comedy but obviously, the man has to be the idiot of the piece otherwise it would just be implausible.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I absolutely love funny stories about real life. I like to be entertained and I want to entertain others. At the heart of any story is either a quest (for a thing or justice) or a romance. Romance just seems funnier to me.

4)     How does my writing process work?

Over the last two years I’ve been experimenting with processes in order to work out which process works best for me. The two attributes which are important to me are quality and speed; without either one, I would be eternally frustrated. I don’t know if I’ve still found the answer but I think I’m getting closer.

Once I’ve allowed the idea to percolate in my head for a month or so, I then dive into a mid-level planning stage. I work out how many chapters there’s going to be and then I plan what will happen in each chapter. By doing this I keep a view on the overall structure and flow of the story, two things which I’ve lost before without planning.

Then it’s a case of:

  • First Draft
  • Second Draft
  • Beta-Readers
  • Third Draft
  • Proof/Edit
  • Fourth Draft
  • Go time

By this point, I’ve become totally hacked off with the whole story and can think of ten other things which I’d rather be writing. The motivation to finish it though comes from the need to get it out of the way and clear the decks. I’m sure that the people who struggle to ever complete a novel are only ever thinking of writing one book, if you shift the perspective to a long-term game then it becomes much easier to finish each one.

So, a massive thanks to Vanessa Wester for nominating me to host the blog for this week.

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