Friday 14 December 2018

A day in the life of Heide Goody and Iain Grant @HeideGoody @IainMGrant #ADayInTheLife #Author

A Day in the Life of authors Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Welcome to another edition of my occasional series; 'A Day in the Life of ..' 
I've invited authors to come and talk about what their average day looks like, we are trying to get rid of the myth that all authors laze around on a sofa bed all day, dictating their books and making millions of pounds! 

I'm delighted to welcome Heide Goody and Iain Grant to Random Things today. Here is their Day In A Life ...

We’ve written comedy novels together since 2011, and we’ve now written more than fifteen books. Our first book, Clovenhoof (where Satan is made redundant from Hell and sent to live in suburbia) was an experiment to see if we’d enjoy the process. We haven’t looked back since.
One thing that we never do is actually write when we’re physically in the same space. When we are working on a novel together, we have planning sessions. We often need a lot of space for these sessions, so we either work in one of our houses or a café where we know we can spread out on a big table. We both still work part time, so this tends to be at a weekend. Let’s look at a writing day for each of us. We do our writing on different weekdays, and we each organise our time quite differently.

Heide .....  I write mostly on Mondays and Fridays. I get more done if I’m alone in the house. It suits me very well to write in short intense sprints and intersperse with minor household tasks. I’ll work from a synopsis, which is part of our normal process. Iain and I normally work on two chapters at a time. One of us writes a synopsis, the other writes the chapter, and then we swap to do some editing. That means that when we write a book we’ve both had an opportunity to change all of the text. The synopsis for the chapter indicates at a high level what scenes I’m going to be writing. It’s good to spend some time thinking about what that will look like, and I’ll jot down thoughts on what might happen as they pop into my head. I tend to write more in the morning and perhaps I’ll use the afternoon to do some marketing. I have a day job on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday, working for an energy company. Quite often I can squeeze twenty minutes’ writing into my lunch hour, which always makes me feel very pleased with myself, as I have to work quite hard to ignore everyone in our staff canteen. I’ve recently purchased Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which is dictation software. It’s extremely effective, and in the right set up (i.e. at home when the house is empty) it’s a brilliant way to get words down quickly. I’ve written this text using Dragon, and I can already see that it’s error-free.

Iain and I exchange a lot of emails about the work that we are doing. Sometimes there are so many things to talk about that we will put them into discussion documents. We have a lot of ideas, whether it’s what we might write for the next project, or a fun way to get our writing in front of new audiences. Dropbox is what we use to share documents. We’ve got hundreds of documents that we share to run our writing business.

Iain ......   Both Heide and I are early risers. We are often e-mailing each other by six a.m. I do most of my writing in the morning. Unlike Heide, I tend not to write at home. There are too many distractions there (namely, the television and the fridge) so I head out as early as possible to write. I’ll often go to a local café or a McDonalds, wherever’s open and has decent wi-fi, and write for around two hours. In recent months, I’ve taken to catching the bus first thing in the morning. The number 11 goes on a thirty mile circular route around Birmingham which takes about two hours. I can sit on the bus, with my netbook on my knee and write for two hours knowing that there’s no distractions and no way for me to simply quit early.

I aim to write about 1,500 words a day, every day. Some days it’s more and some days it’s less, but I usually produce about 10,000 words a week of some sort.

I work from planning documents and synopses that Heide has created for me. I then often convert these into drawn out story webs with little notes and big arrows looping all over the place showing that this has to happen before that and what bits of the plot rely on other elements.

I work as a teacher four days a week. On the other days, I try to get some other writing related work done in the afternoon. Heide is far better at the marketing and advertising than I am and I pay less attention to that stuff than I should. I spend quite a bit of time responding to crazy ideas that Heide sends to me. These might ideas for new publishing methods or promotional activities or just random stuff that she comes up with. Recent months have involved ideas such as a remote controlled trilobites, story planning with bits of interwoven coloured paper and a ‘virtual reality’ book trailer.

When I am supposed to be writing, I can often find myself stuck on a plot point or wondering how to approach a difficult task and I just stare at the screen. These problems are usually resolved when I least expect it. I can be on the treadmill at the gym, walking the dog or pushing a trolley around the supermarket when it suddenly comes to me in a unexpected flash. I then have to scrabble around for a bit of paper on which to write down that sudden revelation. More than once, when I’m in the car, I’ll ask my daughters to text me to remind me. The latest text from them says: ‘novella banjo pineapple thief.’ Now, I can’t for the life of me remember what that was supposed to mean.

The hardest part of the day is probably when my wife comes home from work – I’ll be cooking dinner, never following a recipe although my wife wishes I would - and my wife will ask me what I’ve done with my day. I can show her the ‘novella banjo pineapple thief’ text but that doesn’t really make things any clearer.

Find out more at
Facebook: Clovenhoof Books

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