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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?

Debut author Philippa East is interviewed by Barbara Copperthwaite

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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