Hello Robin. Can you introduce yourself?
I'm Robin Bailes, from Cambridge.
How long have you been writing?
15 years (ish).
What first got you interested in writing?
I've always liked stories.
Do you attend a writing group?
Yes, London Comedy Writers. I've been going there for seven years.
Why do you attend a writing group?
To get unbiased feedback. To meet like-minded people.
What's the most valuable thing you've taken away from your writing group?
Listen to feedback but remember it will not all be right. Listen for the voice that is saying what you would say if you were reading your work for the first time.
What genre(s) do you write?
I work in many genres but comedy principally because I find it saleable.
Are there any genres you don't enjoy writing?
Sketches. I prefer stories.
What types of things do you write?
Have you ever had anything published?
On Amazon Kindle. In a few magazines. Five stage plays published by Spotlight Publications.
Have you ever entered any writing competitions? Have you ever won?
Yes and Yes.
Who/what influences your writing? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Various writers; P G Wodehouse, Carl Mayer, Ben Hecht, Meryn Peake. Inspiration comes from wherever it comes from, you can’t plan or predict it.
Do you start out with a complete idea for your stories, or do you just start writing and hope for the best?
I plan everything rigorously before starting to type.
How do you come up with your characters' names and personalities?
Personalities come with the story, they are a prerequisite. Names from the Radio Times.
What is your writing routine?
I write 9am-12, 2pm-5pm, 7pm-9pm. I treat it as a working day. The morning is usually most productive.
Do you have an editing process?
I read dialogue aloud as I write. I write two drafts, get a read through for feedback and then do a third draft.
How important is it for you to share your writing?
What do you enjoy the most/least about writing?
Most - Structuring a story. Least - Selling stuff.
What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever been given?
Write every day.
What advice could you give to a new writer?
Be confident but not arrogant; believe in yourself but recognise the value of other people’s opinions.
Apart from writing, what are your other hobbies/interests?
Acting, film, and film history.
What types of things do you read?
I have reasonably eclectic tastes. You can usually tell what I’ve been reading/watching from what I am writing, I’m easily influenced.
If you could have written anything, what do you wish that could have been?
The City of Lost Children.
What are you working on at the moment?
A film script, TV drama, stageplay for children.
Do you have a website/blog/Twitter/Facebook dedicated to your writing?
Would you be able to provide a short piece of your writing?
Excerpt from a novel-
It was quiet in the attic room, the only sound coming from within the cages that lined the walls. Behind the wire mesh the rainbow clouds of birds flitted from branch to branch with delicate grace; opalescent finches, fiercely coloured gouldians, richly chocolate bengalese and prim lavender waxbills. A red-billed firefinch, far from its African home, regarded its exotically named cage mates with sharp black eyes; twinspots and avadats, mannikins and cardinals, weavers and whydahs. They pushed their heads into their feed pots, scattering millet seed that fell to the ground with a gentle patter. They splashed in their water bowls, cool, clear water spilling across their wings and back, washing the dust from their brightly coloured feathers. They twittered amongst themselves in high but quiet conversation.
In its own way this muted backdrop of bird sound provided a more calm and relaxing environment than pure silence would have done. Which was ideal for the attic’s only human occupant, who sat cross legged on the floor in the centre of the room, hunched over in apparent thought. He shifted slightly in his position, adding the scrunching of crushed millet shells to the whispered tapestry of background noise, he had been seated like this for a long time.
© Robin Bailes
Thank you Robin.