Emerging Writers

One of the rewards of writing. Elaine Forrestal signing books at the launch of Black Jack Anderson.

Two things this week have reminded me of just how much work goes into writing for publication. One came from a young and enthusiastic writer, via my email.

‘I have written a book. How do I get it published?’

I cheered, silently. To write a book is a great achievement. However, as my young writer already knew, there is much more to it than that. Quite apart from the drafting and re-drafting, tweaking and polishing, there is the daunting task of finding a publisher. Then, when you do find one who is willing to take on your manuscript, there is more writing and re-writing, listening and responding to your editor’s comments. And a good editor will challenge you to explain every aspect of your characters lives and every detail of your setting and plot. Then how come we love this excruciating process so much? What keeps us writing in spite of the traumas, the difficulties, the seemingly insurmountable obstacles?

For me, and many of my colleagues, the enjoyment and satisfaction we get from creating those characters rolls seamlessly into a deeper knowledge and attachment as we spend time getting to know them, living and working with them every day until they become as familiar as our best friends. Like best friends they can still surprise us, which makes them even more real. And it’s only when they are real to us that they will become real to our readers.

The second question came from a mentee of mine. But I have gone on so long about what keeps us writing that I will have to talk about the ‘letting go’ question next week.

Have a Happy Easter.

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