Set in 1917 Trinidad, twelve year old Latchmin is debilitated by typhoid fever and close to death. Miraculously, she begins to recover, but is horrified that a marriage has been arranged for her by her Indian parents who are trapped in this culture, Latchmin's future seems bleak. But she is prepared to fight to end the cruelty of arranged marriages and replace it with education, as well as help her friend who is forced into prostitution.
My life has always been varied and interesting, which means that I have lots to write about. Here are some of those things. Teaching in Trinidad. Nursing in the UK. MD of a lingerie design and manufacturing company, Leamington Spa. Lecturing in Business and Marketing, Warwickshire and W.Midlands. But a most important learning period of my life was bringing up my own three children, and two step children. Writing fiction is fun, fun, fun, not such fun, fun again.
The Last Year of Childhood is the first of a trilogy, all set between 1917 and 1960. The second book begins in 1933 with the first hurricane on record, the beginning of the oil industry in Trinidad, the effects of WW2 and the oil that it exported to help keep Britain in fuel in wartime, and the how they coped with life as changes took place, and the effect of Britain leasing the island to America for the military.
I find it so important to connect with other writers from time to time. It is like watering a plant, feeding it from time to time, nurturing it gently and watching it grow. Really. The benefit can be felt when spending an uplifting day with other writers. The buzz of inspiration and growth, turning to motivation for writing, and feeling the sense of soaring.
No writers block can penetrate this.
Keeping good company is an essential for writers.
Today, I spent the time with seven other writers - members of the Romantic Novelists Association. It was brilliant!
Recently I came across a very large group of writers, mostly unpublished, who really resented the idea that writing can be learnt. They believe that writing is a talent. You either have it, or you don't. They believe that it cannot be learnt, no matter what. I couldn't understand this.
I think the opposite. Sure it is always good to have some talent, but even that is a starting point. Having come late to creative writing, I really believe that writing a novel can be learnt. The "How to Write" books, the Creative Writing courses - casual and with qualification courses, writing conferences, have all taught me a great deal. But even those aren't enough.
Of course writing must be put into practice regularly. And continuous writing and dedication to getting to a goal, is necessary for improvement. When I return to what I wrote the first year, I'm embarrassed... in fact it is hard to return. Not that it was all that bad. In fact, I am often pleasantly surprised. But the style is different now - less formal, less jarred, less awkward.
However, something in those pieces of writing didn't always work. Sometimes the characters were lacking in something; the sentences were awkward; the dialogue was repetitive.
But what makes it difficult to write a full novel, is structuring. Good structure, makes a novel hang well.... as well as well drawn characters, plot and dialogue.
Whether there is talent or not to start with, it is the Energy, Effort and Enthusiasm, and the willingness to learn from every source, that will make writing improve.
This is an interesting and amusing piece from Nicola Morgan's blog. Please read it if you are interested in becoming published. It rings true ....amusingly true, if you feel the desperate pangs of hunger of becoming a published author.