Do you keep a notebook in every room? It’s useful, because, unless you have a fantastic memory you will lose the best idea you thought of if you don’t jot it down when it comes. R.W.Emerson said, ‘Take notes on the spot; a note is worth a cartload of recollection.’
That apart, there is no right or wrong in authorship. If it works you have it right, if it doesn’t, you haven’t. It’s not like maths where there is only one correct answer. There are rules of course, which can sometimes be broken. The reason for them is to make the book/story/article readable. To make it flow. To make someone need to turn the page and read on.
One more quote which is valid for every kind of writing comes from Ernest Hemingway, who said in 1958, ‘I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg,. There is seven eighths of it under water for every part that shows. Anything you know you can eliminate, and it only strengthens your iceberg. It is the part that doesn’t show. If the writer omits something because he does not know it, then there is a hole in the story.’
Many years ago when I was running weekly courses I compiled a book which I handed out at the end of term . This was the introduction and now, all these years on, I still love having a notebook in every room. Would love to hear some of your notebook stories. There is a box below for your replies.Until next week happy writing, Joan
A Little Bit of Luck
What is the additional ingredient that most writers’ need? I would say it was a little bit of luck . I have written and told stories all my life. I began with short stories, largely because of time – I could write, revise and send out a short story within a month, whereas a novel needed much longer. My husband and I ran a newsagent’s business for many years and that entailed early mornings, late evenings and long country rounds delivering papers ourselves. We also had two young children and various animals and the novels were put on the back burner for a while. They were still there, in my head and in my jottings book, sometimes a title, sometimes a character and sometimes a plot. In 1979 the first one was published. Since that time I have written many more and enjoyed writing them all. When my hardback publisher retired a couple of years ago I had that stroke of luck that all writers’ (except the genius’) need, to be introduced to a paperback publisher who was interested and has now published six of my back list with two more coming at the beginning of July. I am currently working on a new book (Twin Murders) which features DI John Carding and Sergeant George Binns who first appeared in Script for Murder. Although I’ve never been in the best seller lists I have been lucky. A lot of people seem to enjoy my books and I certainly enjoy writing them and really miss my people when their story is told. So here’s a toast to hard work, stickability, and that little bit of luck.