On writing…

I love making stuff up. Is it because the world around me isn’t enough, or too boring or does not fulfill my needs or ambitions? – I know not. I just enjoy taking myself off into a world of my own creation and having adventures. I think as a writer, you need another place to disappear to from time to time.

I have been fascinated with writing all my life, as I have with reading. I wholeheartedly agree with the maxim; to write, you first need to read. I love to read and my house is testimony to that. The joy of reading was learned from an early age and from it the desire to write my own stuff was born.

Telling a story and taking an audience by the hand and leading them on a journey of my own creation has been my pleasure over the years. As a child, the visual medium of television also caught my imagination and I started to write scripts for programmes that I wanted to see. I even wrote an episode of Dr. Who, although sadly, I no longer have the document. It was never published or sent to the TV people. It was enough for me to have written the piece.
In my early twenties I had my first article published. It was not a remarkable piece of work, but I was proud to be able to call myself a professional author – I had been paid fifty pounds and it boosted my much needed self esteem.

But I have always been a practical chap. It wasn’t enough to put pen to paper and leave it at that. I wanted to do something more adventurous with the nonsense I was producing, which is why plays and films in particular appealed to me. I had the luck to be a member of a few youth theatre groups in my teenage years, and this presented me with the opportunity to put on my work. It is exhilarating to have actors saying your words, reacting to your thoughts and becoming the characters you have invented and pulled out the air.

I am close now to completing my latest work, a young persons fantasy adventure. At 126,000 words and roughly 333 pages when in a printed book form, it has been a fun as well as hard labour and I hope enjoyable for others to read. I am sure I have a lot to learn about the format and it is by far a work of brilliance – how could it be? I am only at the beginning of my journey and I am too humble to think I am any good at the writing game.

I have tried not to ‘dumb down’ the writing or deliberately make it the language childlike. I have a story to tell and there is much detail to describe. It is not enough for me to keep the characters one dimensional. I want to find out what excites them, makes them laugh, worries them and brings them to tears. I need them to be believable – they have to live.

Also, I have tried not to copy another author’s style or fit it too much to a niche. I know that may be the way of the commercial world, but I honestly believe a story has its own way of telling – you can squeeze it into a box, but sometimes it will escape and go its own way, refusing to be tamed.

I also need to work on different projects at once, from writing a book to shooting a documentary, to travelling the country, to earning a living and bringing up children. I do not think you can legitimately call yourself an author if you sit all day at a computer and tap out words; to be inspired, to widen your experiences, to learn new skills, to weave magic into your stories, I believe you need to live away from the page. The internet is a helpful tool, but it is no substitute for meeting real people, going to real places and learning new things.

But what do I know? I have only been toying with pen and paper since I was ten. I need more time to perfect my skills – ask me when I am ninety. I may have improved by then, with any luck!

November 6th, 2013 by