Wendy Perriam is the author of Broken Places and the short story collection I'm on the Train!. Here she tells us about her writing room and her rather unique approach to writing...
My Writing Room by Wendy Perriam
My 9th-floor flat gives me an intriguing view over London’s rooftops, although I have to ignore the noisy planes and not get too distracted by what’s going on in the busy world outside. Pigeons often coo or flirt on my window-ledge and, once, two plump mallards perched there and stared in at me with interest!
My first drafts are always scribbled by hand in a notebook and for this I sit in an ancient tip-back chair, with my dictionary and thesaurus to hand. Opposite is a bookshelf with all the reference books I may need in the course of writing a novel – anything from The Good Pub Guide to the Encyclopaedia of the Christian Church.
Once I’ve finished my hand-writing stint, I move to the computer and to a stylish chair from The Back Shop - which puts my rickety tip-back to shame! This chair boasts a treasured patchwork cushion, made for me by one of my Creative Writing students. He’d never seen my flat, yet he got the colours exactly right. On my desk, I keep lots of family photographs, which help counter the essentially lonely business of writing. On the walls, are 3 paintings by the artist, Keith New, a close friend of mine, who, sadly died, this year. He used to read my works-in-progress and, although I miss him sorely – and his perceptive feedback - his landscapes create a wonderfully tranquil mood.
It’s important that my writing-room is tidy. Writing a novel is a chaotic process, especially at the outset, when my mind is a tangle of half-formed ideas and plot-lines. I need to balance this inner turmoil by having everything around me orderly and neat – not always easy, as the drafts and research-books and jottings begin to pile up!
Once I’ve printed out my typed work, I return to my tip-back chair to revise it, now wearing my editor’s hat and sometimes crossing out whole chunks. Then it’s back to my computer to type in all the corrections, followed by further revision and further re-typing. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m playing musical chairs!