Paige Nick is an author, a Sunday Times columnist and an advertising copywriter. Her debut novel, A Million Miles From Normal, was released in April 2010, and in May 2011 her second book, This Way Up, was published (both by Penguin Books).
In July 2013, Paige’s choose-your-own-adventure erotic novel, A Girl Walks into a Bar, will be released under the pseudonym Helena S Paige. This book is co-written with Helen Moffett and Sarah Lotz.
1. From first draft, to published book, how much editing do you do?
I do zero editing when I’m writing the first draft of anything. In fact I try to read back as little as possible. There’s that thing where you hear your own recorded voice played back to you, and it sounds awful and you hate it. Well I have the same feeling when I read back something I’ve just written. The trick with a first draft is to get the story out of my head and down onto the page as fast as possible, and then I spend ages crafting and rewriting and editing at a later stage.
2. What research do you do for your books?
That depends entirely on the book. Some bits will need tons of research, and others will pop straight out of my head fully formed. I recently wrote a scene set in a photographic dark room, and since I’d never actually developed photographs myself, I had to do a ton of research on the process to get it right and make it sound authentic. But then the next scene was set in a bar, and it turns out I have already done a fair amount of research on that.
3. How many words do you write, on average, per day?
Every day is different. It’s incredibly hard to put a number to it. It also depends where I’m at in the process. If I’m in a manic writing phase of a manuscript, I’ll get down anything from 2 000 words to an absolute maximum of 10 000 on a monstrous, killer day. But then my brain will be porridge after that. If however I’m in an editing phase, then it’s less about the writing of words and more about the unpicking and reknitting of previously written words.
4. Explain your writing process – do you write an outline and fill in the story, or do you write from Chapter 1 and let the story and characters lead you?
I’m not one of those writers who can let the story and characters lead me. I like to have a plot and an outline very well prepared before I start writing the actual draft.
5. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing, and if so, how do you overcome it?
The naming of body parts and actions in sex scenes is a continual challenge. One of the authors I’m writing this new series of Choose-your-own-adventure erotic novels with, suggested we need a sexual Thesaurus. It’s a great idea. There are only so many things you can call the groin area, without sounding uncouth, pornographic, repetitive, or just plain silly.
6. What do you do when you have writer’s block?
If I’m struggling with a tricky plot point, or a line of dialogue that doesn’t want to come, a walk or a run will usually knock it out of my brain. Or watching mindless TV, baking, or having a sleep often works for me too. Either that or I simply keep going and write absolute crap until the good stuff comes.
7. What advice can you give aspirant writers?
It’s the most boring advice in the world. But in my experience, all you can do is keep writing every day. Write books and blog posts, and doodles and scrawls and pitches and ideas and nonsense and poetry and prose.
And then in between all that, read.
Click HERE to visit Paige’s website.