Category Archives: General

The 10 Rules for Writing Fiction

My blog-trawling the other day alighted upon a rather inspiring blog – 101 Books.  In it, as well as reading his way though Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Novels, Robert Bruce discusses various lists of ‘rules’ for writing.

He starts off with George Orwell’s list of Rules for Writing, and then moves on to Jonathan Franzen’s list of 10 Rules. His inspiration comes from the recent Guardian article where a group of famous authors wrote personal lists.

Check out the lists of rules, and decide which ten things you think are most important to you.  Or have you got some other rules that no one else has mentioned yet?

Here are my favourite 10 …

  1. Elmore Leonard’s advice to ‘Keep your exclamation points under control’ … I often write like I talk, and I’m quite an animated person.  I have to admit to still not being sure if ?! is now acceptable punctuation in this day and age, particularly in speech.
  2. I also like his rule that you ought to ‘leave out the part that readers tend to skip’ because I know as a reader I often skip long, dull paragraphs, and so need to be aware of this in my own writing when I come to editing
  3. Diana Athill’s (and Helen Dunmore’s) advice to ‘Read it aloud’ is something I always try to do when I’m editing, particularly if I’m unsure whether a section works or not.
  4. I also like Athill’s rule to ONLY use essential words … it can be hard sometimes to be that militant, but it’s very good advice when you’ve been told to reduce a manuscript substantially – like when I was told to turn Flicker’s 180,000 words in to 90,000
  5. Margaret Atwood recommends backing up computers, and always having something physical to write on – which ties nicely into my last blog post about Writer’s Block, where I suggested creativity doesn’t always come during designated writing hours
  6. ‘You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality,’ says Atwood.  The second item is a given for me, following on from ‘Get it Write 😉 ‘, and I LOVE her description of writing as a gamble.  ‘Essentially you’re on your own.  Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don’t whine.’  If I didn’t love her already for her amazing fiction, that sentence does it for me!  Especially considering it’s obviously been a very long time since Atwood herself was in a situation where writing didn’t pay!
  7. Roddy Doyle echoes one of Margaret Atwood’s points when he suggests you ‘change your mind’ at times.  It can be painful erasing sections, or changing names across an entire novel, or simply accepting that something you thought was wonderful doesn’t actually work, but try to think of your writing as a work in progress, and therefore treat editing a ‘refining process for the better’.
  8. Helen Dunmore suggests you ‘reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite’ … as I’ve mentioned before, most of my first drafts are really fifth drafts.
  9. I appreciate Geoff Dyer’s advice to ‘never worry about the commercial possibilities of a project’ … apparently having a female protagonist is something Sales and Marketing departments at publishers frown upon …. I’m afraid I am very unlikely to ever write from the perspective of a male protagonist, because I simply don’t feel equipped or able to do such a position justice.
  10. Anne Enright says the ‘first 12 years are the worst’ … hmmm that means I have another 10 years to go until I start worrying!

There are lots more I agree with … and there are also quite a few I disagree with … including

  1. Avoid prologues.  – One of the best parts of the Twilight series is definitely the carefully chosen prologues (no matter what you think of Twilight)
  2. Never use a verb other than ‘said’ …. really??? To me that’s rather boring and repetitive
  3. ‘If it sounds like writing, rewrite it…’ Surely this means get rid of all imagery and metaphors?
  4. Learn poems by heart… Um, what relevance does this have to fiction writing?
  5. Don’t write in public places … Some of my best words have been ‘penned’ on very crowded chicken buses.  As long as I have a decent pair of headphones, and Glee music available, I can shut out the world and concentrate on my writing.
  6. Keep a diary – See this is a difficult one, because I was the most dedicated journal keeper for over 10 years.  I kept one almost every day from the age of 14, however, since I’ve started writing regularly, I’ve noticed my journal time slowly diminish to virtually never, and I think the reason for this is because I have a different outlet for my words.  If I start writing a diary regularly again, I don’t think I’ll have the same discipline for my fiction work.

Have a read of the Guardian article, and Robert’s blog, and let me know which points you strongly agree or disagree with, and whether you have anything of your own to contribute to what is really far more than 10 simple rules!

One final thought …

Because I love this recommendation so much I feel it ought to stand alone.

‘Only bad writers think that their work is really good.’ (Anne Enright)

This definitely made me feel better about my own writing and my awful perfectionism!

C-C xx

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Some Cures for Writer’s Block

I recently asked for suggestions for blog topics, and one which resonated particularly with me was ‘writer’s block’.

It’s quite a dramatised area of writing.  The romantic image of the creatively-stifled author, tying himself in mentally draining knots, until along comes his muse and frees him from his own personal misery.

But from my experience at least, writer’s block doesn’t work like that.

I’ve never really been plagued by ‘the block’ … and I think there are some key reasons for that.

Firstly, I know and understand the way I write.

I have three different stages of writing.  The framework phrase, then the more specific ideas phase, and then finally the most precise phase.  Like cutting a piece of wood into chunks, then carving it, and then finally whittling away the finer details.

The first part is the brainstorm phrase.  Everything and anything is potentially of use.  And so I store it all.  I don’t worry about the finer points, or being neat about it. And it’s not a problem if I don’t use half of the stuff I come up with … I just … for want of a better word … spill!  And I carry on ‘spilling’ (such an awful phrase!) until I feel like I have enough material to work with.

During the second phase, I begin to shape those ideas into chapters and a more rigid framework.  As I explained in ‘Secrets to Finishing a Novel‘, I try to work my ideas into a useable framework, so that chapters begin to form, and I have specific parts of a book in which the initial ideas are then filed.  Because I’m still working on the book as a whole, and not individual chronological sections, it means that if there’s a particular section I’m interested in, or more inspired by, I can focus on my ideas for that part, and then go back to other trickier sections when I understand them more.

At this point I should probably interject with my second piece of advice for avoiding ‘writer’s block’.  I don’t set myself any strict deadlines.  Obviously I have a rough timescale in mind … but because I’m essentially writing for myself at this point, I am the one calling the shots on my time, and how I use it.  And with this relaxed approach, I find I never feel specifically ‘blocked’.  If I’m not feeling overly creative one evening, I’ll turn my attention elsewhere – doing more mundane, less creative tasks like numbering pages, or writing synopses of each chapter so that I can track character development etc.  That way, even in my less creative moments, I still feel like I’m doing something productive.

Going back to the phases of my writing, the third phase, where I fill out the frameworks of each chapter with the actual story, is obviously the phase where I’m most susceptible to blocks.  To get myself into the ‘writing mood’, I find it helps to start each session by reading the chapter beforehand.  This gets me into the right tone, and just reminds me of exactly where I am.  I also try to focus on the story outside of my writing time.  Over time I’ve worked out what works best for me, creatively.  Particularly with dialogue between characters, which is, I think, one of my strong points, I find the best way for me to work out the conversations, is to play them out in my head.  In order for that to happen, I need focussed solace.  And that’s where exercise comes in.  Whether I’m running, or hiking, or just working out in the gym, the focussed alone time is the perfect setting for dialogue to take shape.  And then I just need to make sure I can write down what I’ve come up with, as soon as possible.

When I was in Peru, I hiked the Inca Trail.  Whilst I was in a group, and it was quite sociable, there were also long stretches of tough hiking when no one talked.  And these were the times I found most productive as a writer.  At the end of each day, as we sat around waiting for dinnertime, I would madly scribble out page after page of notes.

Finally, I have one last tip for writer’s block … and that’s to read!

The best way to think like a writer, is to surround yourself with writing.  Now, I’m not suggesting plagiarism!  I just think the way to be most creative, is to get yourself into a creative frame of mind.  And that means immersing yourself in stories, because they will stretch your own imagination.  I find, if I want to think in the first person, I need to read stories written in the first person, so that my internal voice is playing out accordingly.  Likewise, I’m about to start writing a book for younger children than I normally write for, and so, I’ve been re-reading some of my favourite children’s books, so that I can achieve the best tone, and think from a children’s book perspective.

So those are my ‘cures’ for writer’s block –

  1. Know and understand your writing style
  2. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
  3. Find other productive things to do when you’re not feeling creative
  4. Creativity doesn’t only have a place when you’re sitting down in front of your laptop
  5. Surround yourself with creativity – particularly your current genre of writing

C-C xx

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Get It Write ;)

As I explained in Blog Etiquette I think it’s really important as a blogger to read other peoples’ blogs, particularly those of your personal readership.

I love to read, and so reading other blogs is definitely not a chore.  It can, however, prove extremely irksome, for one reason.

I’m a wordy … I LOVE words.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoy writing so much.  I like to play with words, and images, and word play.  And encompassed in all of that is GRAMMAR.

Now, I’m not talking about anything too high-tech.  I know that blogging is like documented chatter, and that often grammatical rules get stretched, because, like I discussed in The Author, The Journalist and The Blogger, blogging is a very different kind of craft.  However, that’s no excuse to be sloppy, ESPECIALLY when your blog is about writing!

I’ve come across not one, but several blogs by writers, where they have misused apostrophes!  Come on, surely that’s something we learnt about at the age of ten?  Simple plural nouns don’t have apostrophes.  With singular possessive nouns, the apostrophe comes before the S, with plural possessive nouns, the apostrophe comes after the S.  Surely it’s not that hard?

Sorry to sound like a nag, but I think this also links back to Getting Represented.  Everyone makes the odd mistake, but if you want to be taken seriously as writer, you need to at least have basic grammar nailed.  I know if I were a literary agent, with a huge slush pile at my fingertips, then spotting huge grammatical errors in the introduction to someone’s work, would definitely put me off – a great example of this is describing yourself as a kid’s author.  Is that just the one kid?  Do you only write for one specific child?

When I was on my pre-university Gap Year, I taught English and American Cultural Studies at a Chinese university.  True story …. don’t even get me started on what a joke system it was that a 19 year old could become a university lecturer, but I did it for 6 months, and absolutely loved it.

My students were in their early twenties, and I soon began to see them as friends rather than students.

In China ALL students are expected to sit an English grammar test before university, regardless of whether they are planning on studying English.  For fun, a group of my students gave me the test to sit.  If I scored over 98% they would buy me dinner, if I scored less, I would buy all of them dinner.  I think I scored around 93 or 94%.

Now at the time I was probably the brightest and most engaged student I have ever been.  Fresh out of A Levels, with an A in English Literature under my belt, and a place at Cambridge University awaiting me, I tried to explain to them, that I was probably an unusually bright English person.  And yet, they simply couldn’t fathom why an English native speaker wasn’t able to score 100% on a test about her own language!

The test highlighted how many grammatical errors have become commonplace in our mother tongue.  And whilst this CAN be used for slight errors in sentence structure and syntax, it shouldn’t wash over the fact that the simplest of grammatical rules are being let slip because of the prevalence of text speech and abbreviation.

Ok, so Twitter only allows you 140 characters … but the real world doesn’t! (As evidenced by my epic blog-posts!) So don’t cut corners, otherwise you may well be cutting out (more pedantic!) readers like me 🙂

C-C xx

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Blog Etiquette

In the words of fellow blogger Jennifer Aaventura I’m doing my ‘homework’.

It’s Saturday night, and technically, I’m at work.  As I’ve mentioned many a time, at night I may masquerade as an ‘author‘, but by day, I’m very much a nanny! And tonight I’m babysitting … So with my two wards safely tucked up in bed, I’m doing some blog homework.

I’m very new to the world of blogging, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise that true membership of this international club is two-way.  You can’t just receive comments, subscriptions and ‘likes’ … you have to give them too.

And so every couple of evenings I try to take a few hours to read the work of fellow bloggers.

Like I said, I’m very new to all this … but I’ve already begun to form some blog etiquette, which I think I would recommend to other bloggers.

1) If anyone posts a comment on my blog, I try my best to reply to it personally.

2) I try to check out the blogs of everyone who likes, subscribes or comments …

This second one is proving to be a bit of a slow process, as I’m sure anyone who has ever been Freshly Pressed will tell you … I have over 400 ‘virtual presents’ to write thank you notes for …. and whilst I *think* I’ve now replied to all the comments, I know I still have a lot of blogs to check out.

But the thing to understand, is that neither of these tasks is a chore.

For a start, the ‘blogosphere’ (a word I’m still not too sure I like!) is a sociable place FULL of potential, as I mentioned in my post ‘ The Writers’ Network‘.  What better place to commune with fellow authors, readers, publishers and agents?  What better way to gain tips, insight, inspiration and feedback, from a forum that isn’t just made up of your friends? (see the Writer and Her Sidekicks)

Back when I lived in Vancouver (I now live in a small mountain village) I used to attend a weekly Writers’ Group … and whilst it’s obviously great to have feedback on your own work, I also loved reading and critiquing other peoples’ work … especially when that work was something so departed from anything I would ever write.  It reminded me of uni … in a good way!

Reading other blogs broadens your mind.  I like to think of WordPress as a kind of huge free magazine.  Some of the blogs I have read in the past weeks have been far better than any magazine articles or newspaper reports I have picked up.  And just because none of us are being paid for the stuff we write on here, shouldn’t diminish the value of our words.  The thing with WordPress, is I’m inspired to look at blogs on topics I wouldn’t necessarily pay money to read about … and yet often these are the articles which interest me the most.

Secondly, by taking the time to get to know the readers of your blog, you can begin to understand your readership, and perhaps tailor what you are writing to those readers.  You can join in with discussions, present your take on something, or simply offer them a whole host of new readers by adding a link to their blog on your blog … just like this!  Here is the link to the original post by Jennifer which inspired me to write this – Blog Surfing, One Peace at a Time.

Finally, think of it in dating terms!

When you are getting to know someone, those in the know encourage you to ask questions.  It’s great to talk … but everyone enjoys talking, which means it’s also important to listen!  Which means, in the blogosphere, it’s not just a question of blogging, you also need to read too … otherwise the relationships you forge with your readership will only be a temporary one!

C-C xx

PS If you’d like me to check out, and comment on, your blog – please post the link below!  I’m still struggling to trawl through all the comments on ‘So Am I an Author Yet?!’ so it would be great to have links for reading all in one place!!! Thank you 🙂

 

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Unreadable!

The problem with this blog was that it wasn’t meant to be a real blog!

Initially it was designed to be a platform to spread the word about my fictional work … and then ‘So Am I an Author Yet?!‘ got Freshly Pressed.

‘So Am I an Author Yet?!‘ was originally just a commentary running parallel to my fiction work.  An excuse/explanation/apology for having the nerve to call myself ‘author’ in the website blurb!  But once people started reading and appreciating my non-fictional ramblings, I felt a certain obligation to continue.

The problem is, my life as an unsigned author, is a rather limited topic.

I really don’t want this blog to be a journal.  I don’t think my readership want to be hearing the intricacies of my every day. (Though hopefully you all found Tales of a Starving Artist entertaining enough) Instead, I want this to be a forum for discussion about writing.  Not just my writing.  But writing in general.

So the first part of this blog post is a plea … are there any writing-based topics you’d like me to discuss? Please add them as comments and I’ll try my best to come up with something – like the ‘Getting Represented‘ piece I did in response to everyone’s questions about how I found an agent.

The second part of this blog is a rant about magazines.  Which I actually touched upon in my recent rant about Work Experience.

I love to read.

And I love the idea of magazines.

And yet these days I’m finding magazines less and less reader friendly.  Which I think is ironic, seeing as almost every magazine these days carries a self-conscious advert about how reading a physical magazine is way more rewarding than reading things from a computer screen!

Take Vogue, for instance.  I was flicking through it yesterday, and counted 150 pages until I got to a CONTENTS page???!!!  Then maybe another 30 until the first page of Anna Wintour’s editorial, which spanned three pages, and yet was separated by at least five more adverts.  I understand that Vogue is about the clothes as well as the writing.  But please give me something to sink my teeth into when I turn the cover.  I can’t stress violently enough how much I detest having to flick through page after page after page before seeing a word which isn’t a brand name.  It’s frankly ridiculous!  Fair enough, advertising is necessary in the print world.  But firstly actually pretend that the writing is important, by placing the contents page, and a couple of articles BEFORE the ads (or better yet putting all those ads at the back, so you can flick through them out of choice), and secondly, if you are making as much as we know you are making from advertising fees … then charge the reader less!!  Why should I have to pay an arm and a leg for the inconvenience of flicking through almost an entire magazine before I can read so much as a sentence?!

Vogue isn’t alone in this failing.  It’s simply the most ridiculous example of the cult of magazine advertising.

And then there’s another Conde Nast flagship title.  Vanity Fair.

Now Vanity Fair has writing … and articles which I love.  And actually a rather sensible smattering of advertising.  But what irks me about Vanity Fair, every time I open the cover, is the extremely unaccessible page layout.  Surely a magazine of VF’s grandeur will have spend thousands, if not more, on analysis of its readership?Surely a graphic design agency, and a market research team, and God knows however many other teams of analysts will have researched exactly how best to present the amazing variety of choice articles and interviews that only a magazine of VF’s calibre can gather.

So why on earth is the layout so awful?

I’m sorry, but it really is.  The font is too small, the layout frankly dull! No matter the title, or topic of an article … I find myself tirelessly flicking through the pages, because they don’t capture me.  The best example of this is when I’m at the gym.  I love to read magazines when I’m on the treadmill or the cross-trainer.  I’m most probably ruining my eyes, I know, but it’s the perfect minimum effort brain-food, when you need a distraction from the physical pain of your work-out.

But VF isn’t suitable brain food … because it’s NOT eye-candy! The font size used is so small and insignificant that I find myself practically falling off the exercise machines while I squint at the pages.

Now I’m no graphic designer, or market research expert … but I like to read.  And I like to read magazines.  And I know that the kinds of magazines I like, use large fonts and brighter colours to draw the eye in.  That doesn’t mean they’re mere picture books … in fact, if you go back to my criticisms of Vogue, you’ll realise that’s the last thing I desire …

I simply want someone to catch my attention.  I don’t want to force myself to have to read!

Anyone else in a similarly disgruntled boat???

C-C xx

PS No I won’t be applying for Work Experience at either Vogue or Vanity Fair 😉

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Glorified Slavery (otherwise known as Work Experience)

As you’ll have gathered from my last post, I’m on the brink of returning home after two and a half years travelling.  Or rather, two and a half years abroad.  Because for most of the last 18 months, I’ve been based in British Columbia, Canada.  However, because I was still technically ‘travelling’ … my possessions at one point at least having been packed in a backpack, and my credit card bills still sent to my last UK residence … I adopted a traveller’s attitude to work.

Three and a half years after graduating from Cambridge, and two and a half years after the end of my Masters, I’m still in gap year mode.  As if the ‘different postcode’ rule applies to careers as it does (dubiously!) to relationships.

I didn’t have to worry about starting a career, because I was still on holiday.  Even if that holiday was lasting almost as long as my undergraduate degree!

And so I happily settled down to life as a nanny in a ski village.  It’s paid the bills, and been a lot of fun … just today I have eaten at a 5 star restaurant and visited the fire station, all as part of my ‘work’.  However, essentially the past two years will form a rather large hole in my CV, because realistically, with a Cambridge Law degree, and an IQ of 160-something … it’s unlikely that ‘babysitter’ is something I’ll use too often on my resume.

But I’m going home.  And so that resume is going to need dusting off.

As I explained in my last blog-post, I’m not turning my back on writing.  In fact, I’m hoping to just go back to the UK for six months, before heading to the States to turn my writing hand to screenplays.  However while I’m back home, I still want to be earning money in a manner which stretches my literary muscles … and seeing as my Masters is in Journalism, it makes sense that I look for a job, no matter how temporarily, in that field.

I have a Masters in Journalism.  The problem is … ALL I have is a Masters in Journalism.

I’ve never been paid for my written work.  During the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, I worked as Olympic Correspondent for an online sports magazine.  But because it was unpaid, the excitement of seeing my name in ‘print’ on my laptop screen died off pretty quickly, and once the Paralympics were over, I wasn’t all too inspired to remain on the unpaid staff.

That’s the problem.  Writing seldom pays.  And so as a writer, you’re expected the put in a lot of graft for very little monetary return.  Which is fine when you’re earning your money babysitting in Whistler … but not when you’re trying to support yourself writing full-time in the real world.

I only have a certain amount of free time each day.  And for the past two years, most of that time has been dedicated to my fiction work (also unpaid as of yet!), as opposed to non-fiction journalism.  So now, looking back at my journalism portfolio, I find it rather bare … which means one thing.

If I want to set so much as a foot on the journalistic ladder on my return to the UK … I need to start with work experience.

Back at university I loved work experience.  I did law, which meant in the summer before my final year, several major law companies pitched for me under the guise of work experience.  I was wined, and dined, and paid £300 a week to sit in a solicitor’s office and play on Facebook every day.  Not only did it look great on my CV, but ‘enduring’ four weeks of this ‘ordeal’ essentially guaranteed me a job at a top London firm!

Journalism work experience is not like this!  For a start you have to actually work.  And they don’t pay you!!

For the most part, journalism work experience involves doing everything a staff member does, but for free.

And this rather angers me!  Because, just because I haven’t ever been paid to write, doesn’t mean I can’t write.  My words are, arguably, just as valuable as those of any other writer at a publication.  And will be used just as lucritively.  So why should working FULL HOURS for free, be an accepted part of the profession?

If work experience was simply a case of pre-emptive networking, then perhaps I could understand … A week of sitting around the office, smiling, whistling and making coffee.  Or maybe even just a couple of days to get a taste of the ropes and decide whether they are the ones you really want to climb …

But four full, 40 hour weeks … unpaid, and without so much as a stipend for transport and food?  Now that’s just glorified slave labour.

And I’m sorry, but the excuse that there is ‘no money’ in writing is overused and unrealistic.  I read Vogue.  Or rather, I sift through the first 150 pages of expensive advertising, in an attempt to read Vogue.  (More on that in a later post!) It doesn’t take a genius to work out what the average advertising turn-over at a magazine is like … in addition to the ever increasing subscription costs.  So why not just give work experience staff a break?

If you are honestly going to scrutinise our CVs as if we are applying for a ‘real job’, and use us as such … then pay us accordingly!  If your selection process is as elite as you hope to suggest, then surely anyone you accept for work-experience will write well enough to earn at least a few pennies for her words?

C-C xx

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Inspired ….

A number of your comments on this blog have thanked me for ‘inspiring’ you.

Which is lovely … and something I’m extremely proud of.

However, I have to admit to feeling increasingly uninspired in recent months.

Just to recap my situation for those of you who haven’t read my entire blog … I’m a 27 year-old Cambridge law graduate.  I passed up a career in law for a Masters in Broadcast Journalism, and then disappeared off around the world on a rather extended second gap ‘year’.  Two and a bit years later, and I’ve written three novels, got myself an agent … but am still not published.

Of my two and a half years away, I spent a year travelling across Australasia and South and Central America, all by myself, before installing myself in Whistler, Canada, where I have worked as a live-in and live-out nanny.

But that time is coming to an end … fast!

My plane ticket home is booked for April 27th, and whilst I’ve had an agent for over a year, getting signed to PFD feels like my last tangible writing achievement.  I finished my first novel Flicker almost two years ago.  I know it’s a slow process, and those two years haven’t been without major developments, but still … I’m a month from going home, and if I’m honest I guess I’d always imagined returning home with my first book deal firmly under my belt.

Flicker was sent to publishers last November.  And over half are yet to reply.  Whilst all of the rejections I’ve received so far, have been rather positive and encouraging … they were still rejections.  And I’m not feeling overly heartened by the fact that the other six publishers are in no rush to respond …

My second book, The Dream Navigator, will be sent to publishers in the next few days, but it’s hard not to feel despondent. after getting my hopes up when I heard Flicker was finally being sent off.

So … I’m returning home unsigned.  And unemployed!

Uninspired.

I’ve spent the past few weeks, wincing at job pages.  Trying to find a day job that inspires me, recognises my academic background, but that forgives my lack of professional expertise.  Easier said than done … And while I may have been happy working as a nanny on the other side of the world, being back home and babysitting for a living seems like selling myself short.

So there I was … uninspired, and panicking that my dreams of becoming a writer are all for nothing … Worrying that my only chance to make it as a writer involves making coffee for editors, and working eighty hour weeks for literally nothing … (more on that later!).

The problem with my background is that writing isn’t my only option.  Every now and again the sensible voice inside me reminds me that I don’t have to completely turn my back on my academic background … that the Magic Circle Law firms are still there, and that I have the gift of the gab to glaze over my four year ‘sabbatical’ ….

But I don’t want to be a lawyer!  I dismissed that career years ago … and found a vocation that I love … and truly believe I can succeed in.

I just have to keep working at it.  Like all of you, who have read my blog … I’m almost there … but not quite.  And I need to believe in myself to continue  on that path.

Where did my inspiration come from?  What was it that made me realise I’m not ready to give up on my dream just yet, and that just because I’m leaving the protective bubble of my gap year, and returning back into the harsh light of my ‘real world’, doesn’t mean I have to abandon the thing I’ve spent the past two years working towards?

Last night I watched the Adjustment Bureau.  Easily the best film I’ve watched since Inception.  I love films that make me think, and stretch my imagination.  Partly because that’s the kind of fiction I like to write.  And partly because I just love stories.  Stories are my life.  Whether books, movies, or trashy American TV … I love stories!  And as I sat in the cinema last night, watching an amazingly well-told and thought-provoking story, and at the same time watching the rest of the audience enjoying that story … I was inspired.  I wanted my stories to touch people like that!  I want to sit in a cinema, and know the story inspiring and captivating every member of the audience, started in my head!

I want to share stories with the world!  I like to write … whether fiction or non-fiction, a journal, a blog, a news article  … but it’s the stories that are my passion.  And I want to dedicate my life to telling those stories …  In novels, and screenplays … and maybe even in good old trashy American TV!

Nut the Adjustment Bureau inspired me for another reason.  The film focusses on the idea of destiny, and having a pre-ordained path in life.  And it’s message is a positive one of taking hold of your own life, and determining your own destiny with your own actions.  Truly writing your own story.

What better message for uninspired me, than to be told to take the reigns of my life, and make things happen?

Ok, so Flicker has been at publishers for a few months …  Who cares? It’s my first novel!  And not only did it get me signed to an agent, but she thought it was good enough to submit to some of the world’s biggest publishers!  And in not one of my rejection letters, did those publishers question why Lucy thought it good enough to send to them!

I’m 27 years young … as I observed in The Life/Writing Balance most authors are in their mid-thirties when they write their first novels.  The past two years haven’t been my writing career … they have been my first steps on a path which will hopefully last my entire life.  And I shouldn’t abandon that path just because the first steps are turning out to be a little tougher, or longer than my impatient excitement can handle!

So I am writing my own story, and determining my own destiny … by believing and investing in my ability.

I go home in a month’s time.  But that isn’t the end of my dream.  It’s the start of a new chapter.  Where to next?  Well I’m thinking a screen-writing course in the States so that I can turn My Ten Future Lives into a screenplay …  and hopefully one day sit in a cinema, and stare up at my own story.  And more importantly, stare around at the people touched and moved by that story!

C-C xx

 

 

 

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