What made me think I could write a book!

As a child I loved writing stories. I could fill page after page with tales of fairies, dragons, witches and princess’s in distress but the whole concept of stories needing a beginning, middle and end was alien to me and all of my stories ended abruptly when I ran out of steam or just got bored. Did the wicked witch meet a sticky end and did the princess marry the prince? Sadly we will never know.

Once my O Level English…scraped by with a C grade… was done and dusted and I was more than happy to put essay writing and explaining poetry behind me. Writing creatively was something I didn’t resume until I hit my 50’s, when I decided to write a blog about being a bride in her 50s. It was called A fifty Something Bride. Once married the blog became A Fifty Something Me. Through blogging I discovered that I enjoyed writing even if it wasn’t very good. Things had improved since my early days of waffling fairy stories with no ending. I could at least say what I wanted to say in fewer than a million words and there was always a good finishing point. I’ve always enjoyed writing my posts and persevered with the little blog despite next to no one reading them and that I am no longer fifty something.

In 2017 we went to Cornwall for our holidays. We stayed in a lovely little cottage with a garden boarded by an ancient granite wall. I used to sit sipping coffee first thing in the morning looking out at the wall whilst Mr R was enjoying a holiday lie in. It was whilst staring at the wall the bones of a story started to form in my imagination. I felt very strongly that I should write the story and it should become a book. The trouble was I had no idea how you go about writing a book. Time passed and nothing got written, but the idea didn’t go away, in fact I became more determined that one day I would write Maggie’s story.

The wall in Cornwall that inspired me to write.

In March 2020 when the first lockdown began, my school closed and I was stuck at home along with the majority of people. After a few weeks of doing very little, it became apparent that I wouldn’t be returning to school anytime soon and I needed a project to keep me from going bonkers with boredom. I decided to write my book.

My little home office soon became littered with post it notes. I discovered that i needed to make sure that time lines and character profiles remained consistent. I made the mistake of completely changing a character’s name in chapter three! Maggie my main protagonist was supposed to travel on the bus using her senior bus pass but I hadn’t realised that she was too young by five years to own one. Researching became very important. I had to Google the whole route to John O’Groats and find out what bus went where. That was no mean feat!

Land’s End, a bus and a middle aged couple. A few plot clues.

My original story went on a totally different direction to my planned original one when I found out that another author had written a similar story. I really didn’t want to be accused of plagiarism so a few chapters in, I had to have a big rethink and I think that what I decided to do is actually better than my original plan. The story was no longer all about Maggie, but about Gordon too and instead of the the time frame being over a few weeks, it’s turned into a year instead giving plenty of time for the characters to develop and for the readers to hopefully feel really connected with them. I absolutely love Maggie and Gordon. To me they are both real and I cried and laughed with them throughout the process of writing the book. Is Maggie and Gordon based on me and Mr R? Maybe a little but I’m not dissatisfied with my life as Maggie is and Mr R isn’t half as grumpy as Gordon.

I finished the first draft in five months. I’m very happy with what I wrote but I am a novice writer and it shows in places. An editor would probably find lots wrong with it, but it’s a good story and it does at least have a beginning, middle and end.

Now it’s finished I really don’t know what I should be doing next. From now on its very unknown territory. I asked lovely writer and one of my favorite authors Emma Cooper to appraise the first few chapters and she was so encouraging and helpful. I needed to make some changes and a tweak here and there but she was so positive about my first offering as a would be author that I knew I had something that could potentially be turned into a proper book.

So now I’m editing it which I’ve discovered is lots harder than what I thought it would be. Then what? The whole process of getting it published is just so daunting. I have problems working out how to collate it on my laptop, so knowing how to actually put it in a format to send out to agents is the first hurdle I have to work out how to get over. And then there’s the matter of which agents to send it to. But I will get there even if It takes a shed load of rejections before someone thinks its worth publishing. I believe in my story and I hope that one day you will get to read it.