Tuesday, 19 January 2016

This week I am...

Reading... Margaret Atwood's 'The Stone Mattress', a collection of 9 short fantastical stories - or 'tales' (the term Atwood prefers for these particular works) about revenge, mortality, ageing and looking back.

Listening... to David Bowie, of course.

Working... as a biographer on a life story project. The book is almost done and will finish around the 45,000 word mark. I'm in an interesting and privileged position to be listening to the stories and experiences of someone I never meet, and turning those spoken stories into something that works on the page. The next few months will bring more life writing projects, some of which I'll be having more creative freedom and space with, actually meeting and speaking with clients, building books in a more collaborative way. An exciting time.

Walking... at speed on a daily basis to try to undo all the food of Christmas and New Year. Might take a while.

Preparing... an application for the role of editor with the journal The A3 Review. I ordered a bundle of issues to read in preparation, and they're wonderful.

Holding... a hot water bottle, pretty much full time.


Anonymous said...

Hi Teresa - re your biographer role, it sounds fascinating (I dug back a few posts and guess this is the same new writing job you wrote about then).

It'd be really interesting to read more about what degree of freedom you have over what you are writing - I mean, I guess you're adding some form to the story rather than just typing it out, and those are the skills you're bringing to the job. But... do you have to rein yourself in a bit? I guess the idea is not for you to write strange, experimental tales based on the material! And do the stories you are ghostwriting inspire other work that you might pursue more creatively? (Not sure I have quite captured the right questions there, but hopefully that makes some kind of sense)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

It sounds like you are involved in some really interesting projects. Good luck with The A3 Review.

Teresa Stenson said...

Thanks, Elizabeth - yes it's an interesting time for me, I feel very lucky. Hope things are good with you.

Hi Ric - thanks for stopping in and the questions! Yes the biographer / ghostwriter role is the writing job I got back in September last year. Freedom - it's a tricky one. It depends on the person you're writing for, always. It's their book so you write it how they want it to be written, and often that will be a straight story from A to B. At the moment I don't get to to meet the people I write for, they're interviewed by someone else, so all I have to go on is the transcript. Spoken English is of course a different thing to written, so I adapt what I can while still keeping the author's voice as 'there' as possible.

I mentioned the move to a more creative process coming soon - this is because I'll be working more directly with the people I write for, so for example if I meet and discuss a book / story with someone, there's more room to talk to about how their story could be written, if that's what they're after. They may still want a straight A to B, which is fine too. So far I haven't found any of the ghostwritten stories infiltrating / inspiring my own work, but it could happen! I guess it's because they feel very separate, but I'm sure they'll be something going on behind the scenes. It's a great exercise in self discipline, actually sitting down and writing to a deadline, if nothing else.

Hope that answers your questions and hope things are good with you :-)

Nik Perring said...

Sounds good! (And yes, hot water bottle, yes.)

Jessica said...

I love this post - I haven't read Stone Mattresses yet but its on my list!

Teresa Stenson said...

Nik - yes! I tied one to me the other day while I chopped the veg for tea.

Jessica - thank you! I think you'll really like it. I need to read more Atwood, I've only read one of her novels (The Blind Assassin)

Anonymous said...

Yes, thanks for answering my questions Teresa - will be interesting to see how the role develops once you are able to discuss the approach to the work with your... biographee (if that's the right word).