Part #3 of our chat with Pippa Roscoe LUV: You have a television and publishing background. How does this affect your writing? Pippa: Hugely! I learnt different things from each industry and genuinely feel incredibly lucky to have experienced both. But essentially, working in television taught me about story, and working in publishing taught me about what happens after you’ve got the story. I worked on a long-running medical drama that produced 52 episodes a year, year after year. The turn-over was ferocious. I worked in a few different departments which allowed me to see how the whole episode was put together from start to finish which is an incredible process. And to this day, I think it’s frankly a miracle that so many people can be involved in one episode of tv and for it to come out coherent and any good at all! Seriously, with everyone trying to put their name to it, you’d think too many cooks would spoil it. But having a specific, fixed, determined focus to a series will help the individual episodes come together surprisingly well. I found it absolutely fascinating to discover that as much storytelling happened after filming than in the script and that showed me how flexible storytelling can be. In post production, I would see how the scenes were brought together and not always in the order outlined in the script. Changes were made for pacing, dramatic impact, or even just running time, but the finished episode would always be a little different to how the script writer had envisioned it. Working in the script department taught me about pacing and about hooks; when to pull back on the drama, when to lean hard into it, when to leave the audience wanting more and when to pay that off. I also think working in television has a lot to do with how visual I am as a writer. Not only do I like to set the scene for my reader, but as a writer, I tend to ‘see’ certain scenes and much of what I do is transcribing that onto the page. On to the publishing industry and the two main things I learned there was industry knowledge and the power of revision. It’s undeniably helpful to understand how a book is put together, the processes that it goes through at each stage from contract, to synopsis, to submission, to edit, to copy edit, title, cover, print and release. (I’ve missed a few steps for clarity!) It’s also became very clear to me that it is a business, practical decisions are made on these books that are utterly separate from the emotional attachment we have to our creations. It also helped me have a very solid understanding of ‘what I was in for’. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to ‘quit the day job’ for several years (if at all) especially at the beginning of my writing career. Category romance is a very different beast to the broader trade publishing of what I’m used to calling Single Title books; I have a fairly regular output of a book every three to five months which means that although they don’t make the huge impact that big sellers do, I have a regular income writing what I love to write. I think historically we tend not to discuss money and career trajectory when it comes to romance, because it’s always been considered such a ‘passion project’. It’s not been ‘seen’ as a career. This does us absolutely no favours at all and instead leaves the content creators at the mercy of their publishers or production companies. What’s been great to see recently is that there are more and more author communities coming up, sharing information and support, and excitingly these new associations are much more focused on supporting rather than gatekeeping. I digress! Sorry. (In case you hadn’t noticed it’s a habit of mine and keeps my editor on their toes!) That aside, I think the most important thing I learned as an editor was the power of revision. That revisions are an important and significant part of the process rather than a negative critique against the story or the author. That revisions can be when the story is really made and as hard as they seem, they are simply an opportunity to make a good story great. They’re an opportunity to sit back and think, is this what I really mean to say? Is this coming on to the page how I really wanted it to now that I have the whole story down and can see it within the broader context of that story? Is this scene, as much as it makes me laugh and I love it, appropriate for this point in my story, or even appropriate to the character at all? I love and hate the editing process because it is most definitely painful, but this is where trust of yourself as a writer and your story telling instincts will get you through. And as an editor, in all the manuscripts I’ve worked on, with every author I’ve worked with, I have never seen revisions make a story worse. So when I sat down to do my own first ever revisions, I did so fully knowing that it was a necessary and invaluable process from which my story would benefit. And that was a huge gift to me as a writer; to be able to use that part of the process, rather than resent it. So, that I’m hugely thankful for that learning.

Posted by LUV Team at 2022-10-05 15:00:31 UTC