For me, the ultimate thrill of authorship is wish fulfilment.
‘I wish I had a million pounds….’ Well, maybe I don’t quite yet, but, with a bit of hope, a bit of a decision to think big, who knows?
I was brought up with the saying, ‘Seeing is believing’ and I suspect that most of us were. But if we turn that round to ‘Believing is Seeing’, then we really have a scenario in which whatever we believe – whatever we put our energy into – can come alive for us.
So say I write about an orphan girl, unloved, who wanders the streets of London, finds a lottery ticket that someone has dropped on the pavement, discovers it is a winning ticket and starts a new life with three hundred thousand pounds in her back pocket. Will I be making that more likely for myself? I might invest my character with many of my own characteristics, and I might take her places and to meet people who are like my friends, but directly, I am unlikely to win at the lottery just because I write about it.
But there are two lessons I can draw from this at the moment. The first is that the positive energy that comes from a great, heart-warming or inspirational story, the optimism of a saga that sweeps through the generations, does affect our lives. As we create worlds, we imbibe that energy – we have to, if we are to make our worlds and our characters feel real to us – and in that process, our personal ambitions cannot help expanding.
The second lesson is that as we write, – just as when we read great books that others have written – we can collect ideas and convictions that we can take up in our daily lives and turn towards good. Writing is not all a one-way street to characters who are needy, hungry or deprived. There is also the small matter of their eventual success, their reconciliation, their triumph over adversity and their decision to escape, make new lives for themselves, or allow themselves to fall in love….
I’m grateful to my characters, since, writing about their vindications and their success, I feel more likely to succeed.