In their own words

Yesterday a funny thing happened. For the first time, as I was writing more of book 3 in my fiction series, I felt as if I was a privileged insider, given unparalleled access to write my characters’ lives in their own words, and, with my trusty pen and paper to hand, allowed to explain their motivations and hopes to readers.

Perhaps that sounds obvious, but in the past, I’ve never felt quite that level of inside awareness, as if I was writing a fly-on-the-wall documentary… and the words kept coming, only to be interrupted by the realisation that it was well after six in the evening and hubby had arrived home from work.

Of course, my characters remind me, I know them as no-one else does, so naturally it is my job to explain, and to highlight and help them resolve their dilemmas. I can show too, how often ordinary people are uplifted by humour and love, even in the midst of heartache.

When I resume writing a piece, I very rarely pick up where I left off. I like to go back a couple of pages, a chapter or two, and begin with a bit of rereading and editing, to check for tone and consistency. While I’m doing that, other ideas crystallise and I can more smoothly move forward. And usually, these days, that process is fairly easy, not least because, on my perambulations through Facebook, I collected a piece of very useful advice – it works for me, at any rate, though it may not work for everyone – to leave writing a story, if you have to leave it, while it is still interesting. To leave when you would rather not, rather than at the end of a good chapter, say.

Yesterday, in my reportage frame of mind, I felt as if I could simply keep writing until the story was finished. I have not far to go, and I did contemplate an all-nighter – briefly, it rarely works – but today, instead, I shall resume and simply hope that my journalistic bent returns. It is lovely being beside my characters, listening and watching as their stories unfold and trying faithfully to record what happens to them, in their own words.

Thanks for listening.

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