get rid of all the clichés

August 27, 2019

I wrote the book in narrative order and wrote the end last. I decided to write through the night. I’d never done this before, so it felt fruitful in its originality at least. I had the house to myself. I lit candles, turned off lights and tried to summon death.

I wrote for hours, until the sun came up. I wrote from every angle – others watching Tessa die, inside her head, dark tunnels, bright lights… I had to get rid of all the clichés by writing through them and I had to get rid of the critic (who often sits on my shoulder). In the morning, I had 22,000 words and my arms ached, but I knew the end was in there somewhere.

I opened all the curtains and because I’d told friends what I was planning, I got lots of supportive phone calls and then went out for breakfast. I didn’t look at the words for two weeks, which really allowed time for reflection. When I read through them again, I knew what to do.

Jenny Downham
Interview with ‘The View From Here’ October 2008

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