While I'm writing my stories I can be anyone, go anywhere and do anything in my imagination.
Ideas for stories can turn up at any time, day or night. To make sure I don't forget them I keep a small notebook and pen in my handbag. Sometimes I've been caught unprepared and had to write on envelopes, shopping lists and paper napkins in restaurants. At home, I keep a big ruled notepad next to my computer and lots of scrap paper around the house.
Pen to paper
Even though I've been writing for such a long time, I don't always get my stories right with the first attempt. There is lots of scratching out and scribble in my first drafts. Sometimes I'm lucky and only need to change a word or two in a poem. With a novel or a picture book I do as many rewrites as I feel the story needs.
A lot of my rewriting is done at the computer. It is much quicker to add, remove or shift sections of text on screen than on the page. I can easily change a word, a sentence, a paragraph or a whole scene. I keep making changes until I'm happy with my story. Then I read it through to make sure there are no errors.
Do you think I always start writing my stories from the beginning?
That would make sense but I actually start wherever it's easiest - and that might be the middle, the end or anywhere in between.
The beginning is often the last part of the story I write.
Sometimes I think I'm writing a picture book but it turns out to be a poem or story for a magazine.