Firstly I wish to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blog tour for UNSCRIPTED by Claire Handscombe
No-one is a bigger fan of actor Thomas Cassidy than Libby. No-one. That’s why she’s totally going to marry him
She is going to write a novel, name the main character after Thom, and find a way to get it to him. Intrigued and flattered, he will read it, fall in love with her prose, write to her and ask to turn it into a movie. She will pretend to think about it for a week or so, then say, sure, but can I work on it with you? Their eyes will meet over the script, and fade to black. It is a fail-proof plan.
Except for the fact that he is a Hollywood star – not A list, perhaps not B list, but certainly C+ – and she is, well, not. Except for the fact that he lives in America. Except, too, for the teeny tiny age gap. Not even twenty years! Totally overcomable. All of the obstacles are totally overcomable. It’s all about determination
I wish to thank Claire for this super guest post which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did, so over to Claire
The best writing advice
I’ve been given a lot of advice, both specific and general, over the decade or so for which I’ve been seriously writing. I wish I’d kept a detailed journal of all I’d learned along the way – these things are mostly on scraps of paper scattered around my room, or in scribbled notes in the margins of chapters my fellow writers have read, or on the hard drives of long-defunct computers. But here’s one that speaks to me deeply.
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
— Toni Morrison
There’s only one of me in the world, with my sensibilities, my obsessions, and my unique way of expressing myself. I’ve written five novels so far, none of which have yet been published, though one of them, Unscripted, is on the way there. They all have certain things in common: unrequited love, creative ambition, Hollywood, and politics are all frequent themes. These are themes that drive me, that I’m hungry to explore, that tap into the deep emotional well in the pit of my stomach, where all my best writing comes from. At least two of my novels are very idiosyncratic, and I’m pretty sure nobody but me would have written them the way I did. My fourth, in particular, whose current working title is After The Lunch and which has yet to find a publishing home but which I’m very proud of, is a deeply personal and fairly experimental novel.
Maybe the one piece of writing advice that’s the most common is “write what you know”. But I think it would be better framed as this: “write what you’re obsessed with, what you want to spend more time exploring”. Maybe it’s something you know a lot about already, and maybe it’s something you want to discover, but either way, if you’re passionate about it, that’ll carry you through the necessary research and the sometimes difficult process, and it’ll come through in the writing. One New York editor commented about Unscripted that I “write with natural exuberance”. I think that’s because I wrote a book I would have liked to read, a book fuelled by my obsessions. Unscripted, which is currently crowdfunding on Unbound, came, in part, out of a daydream I had about adapting a previous novel for the screen with an actor I love, and about becoming friends with a writer I admired. I would have loved to read that book, but, as far as I know, it didn’t exist. So I wrote it. Other people have read it, and enjoyed it – perhaps you will too?
THERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire Handscombe is a British writer who moved to Washington, DC in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA, but actually, let’s be honest, because of an obsession with The West Wing. (Like her main character Libby, she knows a thing or two about celebrity crushes and the life-changing power of a television series.) She was recently longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, and her journalism, poetry, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including Bustle, Book Riot, Writers’ Forum, and the Washington Post. She is the host of the Brit Lit Podcast, a fortnightly show about news and views from British books and publishing.
Twitter — @clairelyman
Blog — britlitblog.com
My other book, Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives can be found at thewestwingbook.com.