UNICORN MILK AND THE ART OF WRITING
By Brian Kraemer-Banks
Creative Writing Tutor
For the acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, writing is simple: “Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat, repeat, repeat.” You pick the best word for your story, write it down, and repeat until it’s finished.
It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.
Last year I finished my first novel, a “breezy and entertaining spy thriller” according to Publishers’ Weekly, so I seem to have put some of the right words next to each other at some point in the process. It reached the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and a few thousand poor souls have the book either on their shelves or clogging up their Kindle hard drive. Unlike Mr Gaiman, however, I continue to breakfast upon Lidl cornflakes rather than fifty pound notes drenched in unicorn milk.
Putting the right word next to the other counts for little until that collection of words crosses the desk of the right agent, in the right mood, at the right time for the market. It’s disheartening stuff.
Yet there’s a flip side to this. Every story you have ever read started with a writer putting one word next to the other. With few exceptions, every author whose work you have enjoyed has been rejected many times, and many have hovered their finger over the delete button more than once to spare the world the indignity of reading their drivel...
... but they continued writing, and now their collections of words fill your bookshelves, populate your conversations, and live inside your imagination forever.
Some of you reading this will have a mind filled with stories you would love to tell and, like me, you will have a heart filled with doubts about your ability to put them together on paper. While creative writing courses and joining a writers’ group might not make you a published author, they can help you learn some tricks of the trade which will help you find the right words and put them next to each other until your story is done.
Why not give it a go, as every story you’ve ever read started as an idea in someone’s doubt-filled mind...
Brian will host a
@ Bosco Bookshop,
Shutta Rd, East Looe
Sunday 16th Nov 4pm