How I Write, by TM Logan

TM Logan is former Daily Mail science reporter, covering stories on new developments in a wide variety of scientific fields. He is Deputy Director of Communications at the University of Nottingham and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children. His debut thriller, Lies, will be published by Bonnier Zaffre in May 2017. He is currently working on his next stand-alone thriller.

I get distracted easily. Or I’m not good at multitasking, or maybe both. My desk – in the spare bedroom – faces the wall so there’s nothing to distract me, no window, no view, no outside world. No TV, no radio. Nothing to tempt me away from sitting in that chair and putting my hands on the keyboard.

Fewer distractions in my writing space means it’s easier for me to reach that magical place where I’m not sitting in the chair any more but right in the middle of the story with my characters, living and breathing every moment with them, hearing and seeing them. Falling into the page and being there as the story comes alive around me. And then when I take a step back and look at my desk clock again, an hour has gone by as if it was five minutes.

When I start a first draft I get a diary, photocopy the ‘Year at a glance’ page at the back, and stick it on the wall by my desk. I will write every day, without fail, until the first draft is done. It helps me to maintain momentum, to keep on top of the plot and stay in touch with my characters. I use the photocopied page to keep a tally of my word count, although it’s less about the number and more about making links in the chain and keeping that promise to myself. If I’ve written for 30, or 50, or 100 days straight, I’m less likely to take a day off and break the chain (at least that’s the idea).

The walls around my desk are generally covered with notes, chapter plans, lists, reminders and scraps of paper with ideas and quotes for the story I’m working on. When ideas occur to me during the day, at work or doing the dishes or reading in bed, I’ll scribble them on a post-it note and stash them in my wallet. It can be anything from a line of dialogue to a story turn, a particular mannerism, a great location, a sound, a smell, the colour of the sky or anything else that catches my eye.

All those notes go up on the wall – and often end up on the page.

TM Logan, January 2017
Follow him on Twitter @TMLoganAuthor

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