Friday, 4 December 2009

The things you need to know

in order to write even the simplest of books still astound me. I will never be a best selling author but, if I get something wrong, then someone will pounce.
I have several novels languishing in the 'bottom drawer' of the computer. They need work but they sit there because I got side-tracked. I wrote a 'sort-of-sequel' to Elinor Lyon's Cathie-Ian-Sovra novels for children instead. It was written for a young friend who wanted 'another story about them'. Sadly Elinor died before I could give it to her as well.
Simple you say? The characters are all there. The setting is there. All you have to do is supply the story. No, no, no! I had to re-read Elinor's books first. I had to make notes. I had to get things right. Young friend would have rapidly informed me if I had any detail wrong. I had to feel my way into a place I have never visited. My picture of it is undoubtedly different from the reality of the place Elinor based her Melvick, Lochhead and Kinlochmore on but I have lived in similarly remote places. It can be done. I had to remind myself about Skellig Michael and a couple of other small points.
All the same it was relatively simple. The story is simple. I am, more fool me, writing the sequel to that sequel. (I wonder what you call sequels to sequels?) I thought that would be relatively simple too. I have no idea where the idea for the story came from but I have suddenly found myself checking facts in history, finding out about lighthouses and people in positions of importance and little bits of law. The last do not go into the story as such but they have to make the story possible if you see what I mean.
Nicola Morgan was talking about physics and mathematics and other subjects only for a genius on her blog when I read it this morning. I hope I never have to head in those directions. I am not a scientist. I have no great interest in physics or mathematics except at an everyday level.
When I had finished reading Nicola however I realised that there was something she needs to say to writers. "All writers should be competent researchers."


Rachel Fenton said...

I am definitely a researcher, but whether or not I am a competent one will lay in the pudding...or something similar but with less fat and more pages - hopefully!

Lighthouses and law...what an original combination!

Holly said...

and we remind you that others might well like to read what you have written.

Good writers are excellent researchers. The converse is sadly not often true. The ability to research does not indicate an ability to write.

catdownunder said...

Right at this moment Holly I am prepared to give up on everything - even the blog. And no, I have not had a rejection slip - that I could deal with.