CORDELIA APPLEBY

Writer of children's stories, passionate about writing. Author of Black Water.

Cilnging On By My Fingernails

How do you write a book that will make an exciting read?

The answer isn’t obvious when you are at the beginning stage, sifting through the possible options.

I took a number of ideas to my writer’s group and asked them what they thought. Most said that the harder idea would be impossible: write the simpler one.

So I went home and thought about the opportunities for the plot and the different ways the characters could develop, within that simple scenario. And the answer to my question became clear: I had to take the harder option, because it offered not only my characters more room for development, but also me as a writer.

I deliberately bit off more than I could chew, and started chomping.

So far, it’s proved a surprisingly delicious meal, full of unexpected flavours and textures – with that special Zing! Can I make it work?

The answer is, I have to. Somehow.

On every page my characters find themselves in places I never imagined they could go; we are all clinging by our fingernails to a crumbling crag, hoping for a way out. Because though I have a sense of the direction, I don’t know the detail of the story, or what is going to happen next.

This is a dangerous way to write, and it may be the wrong one. It’s certainly time consuming, because it takes me up a lot of blind alleys and means large amounts of rewriting. But I’m living on the edge trying to create this new world, and make my characters live – and die – convincingly within it.

And it is thrilling!

9 Comments

  1. If you’re writing that book as well as you wrote this post, I know it will be a good book! You know just how to write things to make them very interesting. You have very good composition! Keep it up!

  2. I have a tendency to do that too. sometimes it works out well if the concept is strong enough for me to fill it in…. but it has also left me with a handful of stories half finished!!! gah!!! good luck to you !

    Jessica

  3. I love the thought of taking your ideas to your writing group to see what they thought! The fact that you then went for the harder option though is great – well done! This is a great way to write and I hope you continue to find it thrilling and it all comes together magnificently for you – good luck!

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  5. I’m really glad you wrote the harder one! I’ve been very motivated by a few quotes I’ve heard recently and continue to see the importance in pushing the limits. That’s where growth occurs. :) Way to go!

  6. Josh, thanks so much for your lovely comment. I really appreciate it. And yes, there is no doubt in my mind that the learning is where the challenge is. Cordelia

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