I have been asked in replies on my blogs, in chat and in person. I've been asked to give tutorials and teach people how to write. I've thought about it, I've considered it and now I've started it.
I'm not sure I can teach YOU how to write like I do, but I can tell you how I developed my own style and maybe, hopefully, that will help you develop yours.
These are my books. It took two years to write my first book - and another nine years to publish it.
My Writing Journey
I am a writer. I started writing seriously in 1999 when I started my first novel, Deadlier Than The Male.
I am also, first and foremost, a reader. I’ve been reading since I can remember (and probably a little before that).
I have a deep and inherent love of books and I will read any genre (at a push, if there’s nothing else to read). I do prefer horror, though.
Yes, I realise you probably already know all that…
I worked as a Door Supervisor (Front of House Staff, Bouncer… you know… “Your name’s not down, you’re not coming in.”) I like to think I was good at it. I certainly enjoyed the work, if not the hours and the arseholes trying to take liberties. Still… Ying and Yang…
The nightclub had just opened – like, a month or so before and trade was slow. People liked to get hammered at places they’d always got hammered at and so, the club was given a bit of a wide berth at first.
I stood on the threshold, looking up the street, down the street, across the street… not a punter to be seen.
On a whim, I looked up. The full moon sat bright in the dark sky and it was a view that could easily take your breath. I was doing nothing else, so I looked at that moon for a while.
The rooftops of the buildings were all miss-matched, uneven and different styles of architecture – another aspect of interest to look at.
The receptionist was just as bored as I was and she abandoned her post and came to chat with me.
“Look at those rooftops, Lolly,” I said. “Can you just imagine a figure leaping from rooftop to rooftop, silhouetted by that big, bright full moon?”
“Oooh, yes!” she said. “A vampire?”
I looked at her and thought for a moment. Vampires were big at that time… Lost Boys and all that.
“Nah,” I said. “Werewolves.”
And so my story started to take shape.
I went home from the club that night, walking to my car through the almost-deserted town, alone, at 3am. I wore my big coat, which disguised my frame, my long hair plaited and tucked down my coat, gloves on, bag in my hand – does any of this sound familiar?
I got home and started my computer up. Trev (@s0u1) was always a heavy sleeper – he started work at 03:30 and therefore, nothing woke him. I started tapping away at my computer and had the beginnings of a story.
I continued with it the next day. I was fired-up and the story just kept coming.
To begin with, I wasn’t all that good, but I liked the story. So I carried on with it.
The story started way back in an indeterminate time, around the War of The Roses in England – roughly 15th century (off the top of my head… I can look it up if you like, but you’ve got the gist… a LONG time ago).
The characters and scenarios were vague and in serious need of development, but they were taking shape, gaining texture and substance before my very mind’s eye.
The character was a bit feeble… a victim and though I liked her, I didn’t like that fact. So, if the first character I came up with was to survive, she had to get tough – FAST.
To give her a reason to get tough, she had to have some conflict and so the dog she loved, the only thing left from her parents, had gone missing and needed to be found.
It was too easy for her to find it, too quick, simple and where was the conflict, so she had to have something to scare her.
Enter the mysterious, unseen, unidentified terrifying beastie (for @meesterboom’s benefit).
I developed tension, a chase, more conflict and terror than you could shake a sticky stick at and then… her saviour appeared!
But he didn’t actually rescue her. He just happened along after she’d got away from the big, scary, unseen beast and therein lay another mystery for later – a little bit of ‘foreshadowing’ if you like.
I had to develop (make up) a back-story in pretty quick order because the tale was marching on apace and we needed to know more about this young woman.
Parents dead, all alone except for her beloved dog, she had the loyalty of her parents’ friends and the locals seemed to like her too. The ‘Lord of the Manor’ had a soft-spot for her and so you got the feeling she was a generally nice kinda girl – what’s not to like?
But What’s not to like? doesn’t make a good story.
I had to dig deeper and make it a thrilling story. One that readers would like to follow, one that I wanted to read.
And there I had it! The whole reason to write a book.
Write a story that I wanted to read and never mind anyone else.
That was where my mantra comes from:
Write a book to please yourself. Don’t write to please others, because you’ll end up pleasing no one and the book will not be any good – certainly not as good as it should be.
There’s my first piece of advice on how to write:
Write something you would read – and read, and read again – because if you get bored with it, so will your readers.
How is your readership supposed to read a story that bores you, the story’s ‘mother’ (even if you’re a bloke, you still get to be ‘mother’ because you gave ‘birth’ to the book).
This is the first page of the book when I started it. Things developed from there, as you can see from the finished book