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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

‘The first draft is just getting a lump of clay down onto the table’ Debut author Philip

For me, the first draft is just getting a lump of clay down onto the table. It seems that I need to have this “filthy”, quick draft in existence before I can even start seeing what my book is meant to be.

Tell us about yourself…

Hello! I’m a fiction writer, living in Lincolnshire with my husband and cat. I began writing seriously about ten years ago; for a long time I wrote short stories and I’ve had a number of these published. A few years ago, I got an idea for a novel: what would happen to a family if their missing child was found – alive – after many years? After a great deal of writing and re-writing, this idea eventually became my debut novel Little White Lies, which was published in February 2020 by HQ/HarperCollins. In my day job, I work as a Clinical Psychologist and therapist, and this background informs much of my writing.

How do you go about plotting your book?

I’d say I’m a “pantser” with a “plotter” inside desperate to get out! Ironically, in my ordinary life, I love order, predictability and a plan. However, when it comes to writing novels, it seems I have to go off-piste. With my first novel (Little White Lies), I began writing with no plan in mind whatsoever. Many painful re-writes followed! With my next novel (my work-in-progress), I wrote a 5,000 word outline (which was signed off by both my agent and editor), but once I’d written the draft, it STILL ended up needing a full re-write! (I’d followed the outline, but somehow it just wasn’t working.) I think I’m learning that I do have a good overall grasp of story structure, so I know the kind of “shape” my novel needs to have. It just takes me a while to dig down into the very best ideas I can use to fill in that scaffolding and find what I am really trying to say… TO READ MORE, CLICK HERE

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