Psychologist learns a new take on tone and mood

student profile: Laura de Loos

What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question we all get asked as children. Laura de Loos always answered “a writer!”  But gradually that dream was overtaken by other ambitions and she became a psychologist.

It wasn’t until she finished her master’s degree that Laura picked up writing again – first in the form of journaling and then moving into fiction and then embarking on a book-length manuscript, which took her 11 years to complete. She says, “What attracted me to writing was the power of imagination. When I was reading a book, I could be taken in completely by the author. I wanted to be able to do that myself.”

Originally from north North Holland, she now lives in Haarlem and works in Amsterdam. Her other pursuits include baking (she makes her own croissants!), meditation, and, of course, reading. She just completed her first Level I course with the Collective.

 

What is your writing process like?

Writing is never spontaneous for me. I always have to get over something to start. And I really need to sit myself down. In the beginning, when writing my manuscript, it was very difficult to do that. At some point, I started going to a public space with a very cheap old laptop, with no internet, and nothing else to do besides writing. Whenever I was lost for inspiration, I realized I enjoyed looking at people passing by. I have a favorite coffee corner in Haarlem where I wrote 80% of the manuscript.

 

What have you learned from your IWC experience thus far?

I learned that writing is something I really enjoy doing and that I am capable of coherently putting my thoughts on paper. On the other hand, I also learned that it takes a lot of effort and a lot of work to get it right. Looking back, I see that I was very undisciplined with my writing. I didn’t consider the different types of narrators and the tone and mood of a scene. I wasn’t thinking upfront when I was writing. For me, that has been the biggest takeaway from the IWC course.

Before the course, I wrote about dark material, with a dark mood and a dark tone. It was not always easy to read. I knew that, but I had no idea how to be more playful with my material. Through the course, I gained a much better understanding of the different ways you can play with tone and mood: what should be light, and where the darkness can come in. I feel much more technically able to write this type of material in a way that makes it readable.

 

What are your favorite books?

I love Janet Fitch’s White Oleander. And a book that I read every few years is Looking for Mr. GoodBar, by Judith Rossner. That’s an underestimated masterpiece, in my opinion.

 

What are your future writing plans?

I am doing the NaNoWriMo’s April challenge. I’ve always had a second book in my head and I want to do that for NaNoWriMo. In comparison to my first manuscript, this second book is more fictional. Before, whenever I would write fiction, it would feel a little bit off to me. But with the tools I learned in the IWC course, I feel much more capable.

14 April 2022

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