Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Writing - Why does anyone write?

I haven't started another book! This is a first for me. Usually, when I come to the end of one story, in this case Grace and Favour, I have the next one ready to go and begin as soon as I have the time.

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It is good to stop on occasion and reflect on what you are doing and where you are travelling in your life. I have been writing almost continually for six years, oh I know that some folk have written for ten times that length of time, but I was one of those who always wanted to write a book and left it until I'd retired from my career to begin. I have the next book in mind and like the quote above, from F Scott Fitzgerald, there are elements to my writing that make commentary on the world as we know it today. I have covered such topics as the 'special relationship' between the US and the UK; global warming; the control of corporations over the lives of ordinary people and more. However, I am at a turning point or threshold of some type that I'm unsure about. I don't want to stop writing, I don't think that I could, but I have drivers in me that seem to be pointing me in different directions.

The portfolio of books above is dominated by seven Steele novels but there are also 2 poetry collections and a dystopian novel. Currently, I have another Steele novel in mind, but I'm also being tempted by a couple of historical stories and an autobiography. 
The autobiography is a temptation because I want my children and grandchild to know where I came from and so a little of their own history. That daunting prospect, for it could be a beast of a book, a tome if you like, could take a while to produce and it feels like it should be my final book.

The historical stories represent a danger in the respect that I have so far started a book and continued to its conclusion, but I am doubting my ability to make a historical story work. I have a couple of ideas in mind. One would be based in the 13th century and around the lives of ordinary people and the other is later, probably late 19th or early 20th century, and based in my original home area of Sunderland.

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The 13th century novel would be linked to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 but from the point of view of the ordinary people of that time. This is a reflection of my own feeling that this so-called amazing document had little relevance to the lives of ordinary people for hundreds of years after its signing. Even now it is possible to argue that it suits the upper classes rather than ordinary working people. 

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Victoria Hall disaster of 1883

The Victorian novel would be centred round the disaster that occurred in the Victoria Hall, Sunderland in 1883 when 183 children were killed under tragic circumstances.

You could argue that I should write all four books and perhaps that will happen but the question is what to write next. In the case of the Steele novel I have the first chapter in my mind and the ending so perhaps that is where I will begin, but for once I may have more than one project on the go simultaneously.

If you are wondering whether to write beware that once you begin you may find it difficult to stop. There is an element of addiction in the art and once the urge to expand an idea into a story has been given its head the ideas flow like water from a tap, but there are still only 24 hours in a day.

God Bless