On Writing my first book

Well I’ve done it now. My first book is released in January 2016. Unbelievable!  Plucking up courage to tell people I’ve written a book wasn’t easy. There tends to be several reactions: either blank astonishment, a curling lip and disbelief, sometimes compliments and pleasure at my having done it at all, or a flurry of questions about the process.

At times it seems to me that half the people I meet are writing or planning to write a book and the other half is asking how do I do it. Where do I get my ideas from? What gets my writing juices flowing? Why?

No easy answers but it did set me thinking. Now I’ve done a bit more writing and am looking to writing in the longer term I’ve been reflecting on this.

The “how” is quite straightforward. Creating a story seems to me to be like creating a painting, or at least how I would if I ever painted. First I sketch in the outline and characters then I go back over and over it adding in detail to highlight parts that need highlighting or even reducing the contrast so that outcomes can be more surprising when they come. Certain characters need to be delineated with more care than others. Dialogue might need extra work. So on and so on until the day comes when it is finished. That’s the hard part: when enough is enough and it’s time to stop, to let go.

The “where” I find ideas for stories can be the distilled essence of overheard words or phrases, other people’s experiences rethought and retold, half thought notions and lots of what ifs. Sometimes it’s a character or set of characters that appear fully formed in my mind sometimes it’s a situation. Such variety.

Why? Well that’s another story and one I’ve not worked out yet and somehow I suspect I never will.

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