Saturday, 10 September 2011

How and what do we write? Most of us reply in generic terms initially, for instance, non-fiction, fiction, historical, novels, sagas, family dramas, crime, thrillers, fantasy, sci-fi and lately with ebooks, there is a great deal of genre mixing, something traditional publishers once discouraged. But now, if it’s a good story and the book will sell well, who cares quite so much about its label? As we’ve moved along the technical route, people have shorter spans of attention and want to get to the nitty-gritty as fast as possible. People want page-turners and we need to make our novels exciting from the very start. I write with an emphasis on dialogue as that's the way my brain works. My East End “inner” voice springs from my childhood, growing up amongst colourful, no-holds-barred, dynamic, lyrical, unforgettable cockneys who to this day, live in my mind as fiercely as they did when I was a child and a teenager. And so, once I am in the vortex of writing, I hear nothing but their voices and I know it’s my job to record them as honestly as I possibly can. Perhaps the voices do come from a collective unconscious linked to my own emotional focus. But whatever it is, the words flow onto the keyboard. Not that I haven’t given the plotting a great deal of thought beforehand. But, for me, the real writing comes in the voices and those special words that come in the guise of characters, those chosen words that sometimes reflect the entire story. For instance, does anyone remember the film, WHISTLE DOWN THE WIND with Alan Bates and Hayley Mills? Bates (the man) is found sheltering in the barn by a young girl who gets the fright of her life as he appears. Do you recall the two words he utters that dominate the rest of the movie? In fact, they ARE the movie. Such a classic! Such a gift to us, as writers! Go to Utube for a flashback!

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