It was a very Morpeth affair at the Autumn Authors Evening at the Chantry. There we were, upstairs amongst the bagpipes, a group of grey haired, mostly white, mostly retired upright citizens of our small and I am afraid to say, provincial town. Provincial is a word I don’t like but in this case it was most apt.
It was not the kind of evening that I would normally have gone to but there were a couple of authors presenting and one of them was a particular favourite of my mother and so I guess I got roped in.
It turned out to be an interesting evening. It was fascinating to hear how the two authors went about their craft. Barbara Fox is a writer of memoirs covering the mid twentieth century while Sheila Quigley is in the crime genre. They both approached their art in a very different way.
They both talked about their childhood and the effect that had had upon their writing. Barbara started with some notes, letters and artefacts which she had found in an old chest, around which she could build her narrative while Sheila’s work flowed from the title. Once she had that in her head the story would follow. Barbara had the ending in mind before she put her fingers to the keyboard but for Sheila the ending came to her at some point as she wrote her book. Neither wrote at the same time of day, in fact Sheila just wrote whenever her dog allowed.
What I was after was a formula for writing. Some pattern that if I was to follow then out would pop my own work. I remember hearing how Fredric Forsyth said that he wrote by sitting at his desk and not moving until something came out.
I have now realised that there is a formula for writing your own book but that it is different from everyone else’s approach. Only I can discover what that is and the only way I can find out is to keep writing.
A writer writes.