I can’t write in one place. Some people have a favourite writing place, a study maybe or a quiet room somewhere at the back of the house. I have my bed, the living room settee, the garden swing chair, the conservatory... in fact, you name it, I will write there. I have realised that when it comes to writing I am a complete nomad.
I can’t write a word until I’ve emptied the dishwasher… which is strange considering I’m perfectly able to sit down to write with an unhoovered floor, an untidy room and an unwalked dog!
I can’t write anything new until I’ve read through what I wrote the day before. Advice is often given to just get the first draft down and worry about the editing after. It’s advice that I’m totally unable to follow. The first thing I do (after I’ve emptied the dishwasher) is read through my previous day’s writing and edit it. This means that by the time I’ve finished my 80,000 contracted words, I have a pretty clean copy to work on.
I have to check constantly for name changes. Not my own, I hasten to add, but those of the main characters in my novel. I have a tendency, around the halfway mark, to start calling Bob Bill and Alice Sally. I really don’t know why I do it but it’s as if their alter egos want to be set free! Their surnames can change too, along with place names. Good job I keep a record of them all in a little black book. When I was still writing fiction for magazines, an editor once said to me ‘I really like this story but who was the Tom who appeared halfway through?’ It transpired that Tom had suffered a name change on page four – he was my main character and used to be Clive! My husband, who proofreads my novels before I submit them, now has strict instructions to check my characters’ identities very carefully – he’d be great working in customs!
I try to write a thousand words a day. Or to be more accurate, I try to write five thousand words a week. This isn’t a strict rule but one that works for me. I only write on weekdays as family time at weekends is really important to me. Although I give myself this target, it’s just a minimum and I will usually write a lot more than that. Keeping the weekly wordcount manageable, significantly reduces my stress levels.
I try to limit time on social media during the working day. There’s not a lot I can say about this one as I totally fail! I’ve tried everything: only going on social media first thing in the morning, only going on social media after I’ve finished writing in the evening. If you have any tips, let me know.
There are days when I just can’t write. There can be all manner of reasons why this could be: I’m feeling under the weather, it’s sunny and I want to make the most of it before the rain comes in again, my mum has rung and asked if I’d like to go to the garden centre with her, I’m stuck on the particular piece I’m working on… or maybe I simply don’t feel like writing. It used to make me feel guilty, but it doesn’t now. Having a day off helps me recharge my batteries and I know that when I sit back at the computer the next day, I’ll feel all the better for it.
About His First Wife
The first time you see them, out for an evening walk on the cliffs, you’ll think they’re the perfect family. You’ll see a wife who looks so happy, strolling peacefully beside her husband in his dark winter coat, holding her daughter’s hand. But you have no idea what’s really happening in their house…If you come a little closer you might hear the way the man speaks to his wife.You might notice that the woman doesn’t have any close friends. That sometimes her husband doesn’t want her to leave the house. You might wonder if that’s a scar her beautiful daughter is hiding on her neck.When you read the local newspaper and hear the news that the wife has fallen from the cliffs, you’ll question whether it was really an accident at all.And when the husband starts dating someone new – a woman with the same long dark hair and big blue eyes as his wife – will you say something this time?Because someone has to protect the little girl and stop history from repeating itself. And it may already be too late.A thrilling and twisty tale, His Hidden Wife will keep you up all night, desperate to race through to its final conclusion. Readers of Gone Girl, The Couple Next Door and Lisa Jewell will be hooked.
About Wendy Clarke
Wendy Clarke was a teacher until the small primary school where she worked closed down. Now she is a writer of psychological suspense but is also well known for her short stories and serials which regularly appear in national women’s magazines.
Wendy has two children and three step-children and lives with her husband, cat and step-dog in Sussex. When not writing, she is usually indulging in her passion for dancing, singing or watching any programme that involves food!