Writing is the act of making your imagination real for yourself and others. There are rules to it; just as you need to walk before you could run you need to learn some narrative structure before you can express the exhilaration of those first steps, or the pain of falling over. The great fear of most writers is ‘what if nobody likes it?’, but that’s publishing, which is just an annex to the experience of writing. The more challenging question is ‘what if I don’t like it?’. The great concern that seems to paralyse most writers is the need to be ‘original’, but I think that’s the wrong goal. Almost nothing is original anymore. Romantic comedies have been around for centuries but love itself has not changed, so the love stories we watch on Netflix are essentially ancient plots in up-to-date fashion. Originality is achieved in how the story is told. The way to satisfy both audiences, ‘you’ and ‘them’, is to be authentic, to have an individual voice that comes across as real. This is tremendously difficult to do, but when you have achieved this you will find there is no other voice out there exactly like yours, so the world will see it as ‘original’. I’m still on this journey, and I don’t expect it to end. Indeed, I hope it never does.
The purpose of this blog is to showcase some of my own writing as a way of exploring how I work through the evolving creative process, and I welcome contributions from others as part of a general discussion of what makes good literature. For efficiency I’ll be focussing mostly on very short pieces that I’ve written for myself and for my students as examples of particular elements of the writing process, but I’ll also draw on elements of my published novels and novellas. I'd like your feedback so I invite you to use the message function. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.