Sara Trofa is the writer of the beautifully fun and stylish Taxi Ride with Victor, illustrated by Elsa Klever. It’s a hilarious journey through mistakes, new opportunities and friendship – perfect for reading aloud and sharing with young children. And look! She’s invited MyBookCorner readers into her writing space…
A typical writing day starts with a cup of tea and some reading. I check to see if my plants have grown any new leaves or blossomed while I was asleep, I take a short walk in the garden.
Then it’s time to choose the project I’ll be working on that day. I rarely work on one single project at a time, so I go through my folders and I see which story is more interesting for me in that moment.
Sometimes I spend hours bouncing from one project to another, but if things go well I’ll dedicate the next hours to the story of the day.
I do most of the work on my pc, especially the actual writing in the last phases of the process, but jotting in my notebooks when I’m collecting and developing ideas is fundamental as well.
My notebooks can’t be too fancy though, or I won’t feel free to scribble on them! I like notebooks with a monochromatic cover. Usually I remember where I wrote things depending on the cover’s color.
Leafing through my old notebooks is a ritual. After some months, a year or even several years, I will find a note that only then is ready to become an actual story. Or better, only then I am ready to take that note and develop it into an actual story.
Of course, many of these notebooks have tea stains on them and I write on paper tea bags as well (why throw them away without giving them a second life?!). In fact, paper tea bags come in handy also when I want to create a teeny-tiny dummy of a picture book, a very early stage dummy only for myself. It’s great to be able to visualize the double pages and to move them around as I like.
My desk is often chaotic: notes, pencils, pens, plants, mail, books, cups, creative writing cards and dice are all over the place. I love it but sometimes I also like to set up a quick writing desk in the garden or somewhere else, somewhere I can hide and focus on my task.
For my job as a language teacher (I teach Italian to foreigners) I often commute and that’s a prolific moment for ideas. When I get an idea (good or bad I cannot tell until later) I grab my phone and I record a vocal note.
Sometimes I also record vocal notes at home: I need to be quicker than my hand or my thought will get lost!
On the tram, which is usually crowded, I find my little corner, I get my notebook out and I start writing. The city landscape is moving fast past the corner of my eye, a feeling of movement that I deeply enjoy and that helps me to find new ideas. Every now and then I lift my head to observe the other passengers, they might suggest a story to me!
The end of the day is another favourite moment for writing. Everyone else (almost) is asleep and I can spend as much time as I feel like on a single adjective without being interrupted. Time goes slowly, at least until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore.
When I’m about to fall asleep, my absolute favourite thing to do is to tell myself the story I’m writing, repeating it several times in my mind up to the point where I’m stuck and then trying to imagine how the story goes from there.
Hopefully the morning after I’ll be able to remember everything!