Monday, 4 December 2017

Emma Curtis' Writing Toolkit

WRITING TOOLKIT gives you an idea of an author's writing process through the tools they use. The tools can be anything (real or virtual) that they think is essential for their writing - serious, fun or even a fetish (that they're willing to own up to)! 

I am delighted to welcome 




Writing space
I don’t attach much importance to where I write; it tends to depend on weather and who is living in the house. Currently both kids are renting flats with partners (Hurray!) so that frees up their bedrooms.  I also have a writing shed, which though perfect in Spring, Summer and Autumn, can be a cold in winter.  It’s also used for a – ‘where shall I put this, I don’t want to get rid of it but’, items and outside furniture.  So, it’s not always conducive.  The essential thing is to feel uninhibited and because I write using Voice Recognition (more of this later), it can be difficult to find that space if my husband is home.

Creative writing books
I keep my favorite creative writing books in the bathroom to dip into when nature calls, a habit that bemuses my husband.  I love Stephen King’s On Writing, Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark’s hilarious How not to Write a Novel, Harry Bingham’s How to Write.  You think you know it all when you get your first book deal, but you really don’t. You’re only scratching the surface.  It pays to be humble and learn lessons.

I use Dragon Voice Recognition to write my first draft because I have chronic pain in my hands, arms and shoulders.  It’s great for pounding through those chapters, but unfortunately it slows down the editing process to such an extent that I end up getting angry and pulling the plug.  It can also be tricky when you need to write a sex scene.  I wait for an empty house for that task.  Not that I write many!  I am very much a ‘less is more, use your imagination,’ author.

I can’t bear being able to hear the radio, my husband on the phone, sneezing or merely breathing near me.  I can handle noise that I have no control over – like those pesky parakeets and squirrels who enjoy a prolonged screeching session, but if I can put a stop to something, I can’t ignore it.  This morning there are builders outside my window.  I’m doing my best to blank them out.

Healthy eating
Food is definitely part of the writer’s toolkit, and a tricky one to balance.  The weight crept on.  I started 2017 with a hashtag #ThisWritersArse to motivate myself to lose it and get healthy again.  I have strict rules (I am an all or nothing person). No eating between meals, no carbs.  I have porridge for breakfast, a huge salad for lunch and for supper meat and veg – no potatoes!  It’s worked. I’m now down to a respectable ten stone.  Chocolate after lunch and supper, is my pat on the head for keeping my hand out of the biscuit tin. I keep a supply in the fridge and can become disproportionately upset if it vanishes.

I think my most important material item for writing is clothes.  I dread neighbours turning up unannounced (which they do all too often) because I look awful in baggy old sweatpants and hideous jumpers.  But I just cannot cope with anything that fits snuggly.

A good night's sleep
I don’t work in the evenings because I have trouble sleeping so avoid over-stimulating my brain.  A TV drama followed by a couple of chapters of whatever I’m reading, usually does the trick.  I don’t like box sets because they go on for so long.  I prefer English serials like Missing, Doctor Foster and Paula and love Scandi Noir.


About Emma Curtis

Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London. Her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write One Little Mistake, her first psychological suspense. She has two children and lives in Richmond with her husband.

Find Emma on Twitter - @emmacurtisbooks


Published by Black Swan (15 June 2017)

Publisher's description
Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.
When she makes a split-second decision that risks everything she holds dear, there's only person she trusts enough to turn to.
But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you're careless with those you love, you don't deserve to keep them . . . 

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