Tuesday, 18 November 2014


I just want to say a couple of things about this topic of IDEAS.

Many people have a lot of trouble wondering how to get ideas. When you've read a well crafted, well written novel, you become amazed at how the writer managed to think up such a complex plot.

Well, not every writer is the same. Some are better with ideas, but most will start, and get stuck some of the way, some of the time. Sometimes ideas grow as you write, and develop into something you never thought of way back in the beginning when you wrote your first sentence. It's like exercising an ideas muscle in your head. The more it's used, the stronger it becomes.

Or, think of it as a seed planted in a pot full of good soil. It germinates when it is watered and gets the right sunlight. It grows and grows, flowers, and bears either one or two fruit, or the branches almost break with fruit. Just so with ideas. The more you think, the more you develop ideas.

But what about the first idea? They can come from anywhere. Just anywhere. A newspaper story, a conversation you have or overhear, an experience you have at a petrol station or with someone somewhere, in a bustling city, or a cosy restaurant. Just anywhere. Or, it could be a memory, a good one a bad one. You just need to work out how to put it into a story. And that is the tricky bit. But fortunately, the more you work at it, think about it, write it down and plan, plan and re-plan, the easier it becomes. Sometimes it's like a jigsaw puzzle, and will slot into the perfect space.

The idea doesn't have to be amazing. It just has to be enough to start a story where characters act out that idea. Most times, if the characters are well drawn, they will take a small idea, and create something magnificent. Remember that characters actually are like real people. In fact, in your story, they are real people, because you will create them as real as possible so that the reader becomes so taken with them, that they can identify with them, or say your character is just like someone they know or did know.

So if you want to start writing, go ahead. Get one idea, write it down, and develop it. Create some characters as if they're real people, and make them work at your story. Don't forget to make them think differently too! That then can create conflict and your story gets interesting ... intriguing, even unputdownable.

Only - get a notebook or two, and write down all the ideas that come to you, day or night. They come in the strangest places - in the bath, the shower, whilst driving. But don't reach for your notebook while driving. When you stop, write it down. Or use your phone to make notes.

Get started.

Bye for now!

Marilyn x

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

My First Public Author Reading

Today I read a story of mine in public, for the first time as an author.

It took place at Warwick Library, Warwick, Warwickshire, UK.

A few weeks ago my Writer's Group, Bardstown Writers, launched our first Anthology at the well known bookshop chain Waterstones, Stratford upon Avon. The Anthology covers small pieces for all readers: poetry, short stories, and articles. And includes one of my stories -
Dorothy at Mill Stream Cottage - an amusing short story about a goat - which is based on a real life incident. (I did have a goat a few years ago.)

However, the point about this blog post is that today was an important milestone for me as an author. Five of us from our Writer's group read extracts from the Anthology, to a live and lovely audience. I was nervous that morning, as I would be, but enjoyed the whole experience, and even got asked questions about the goat in the story.

This morning made my day! It made my week! And more. And it has given me a taste of things to come once I get my actual novel published and out there in the shops. I am definitely at the point where I really want to share my novel, The Last Year of Childhood. So keep a look out.

All I need is the last drive to get it out, and the not so small matter of luck!

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Bye for now!

Marilyn  x