Friday, 15 November 2013

Some random mulling on the question: "How did you get into writing?"

Author's disclaimer: This blog post is kindly sponsored by the lovely people at Grammarly :) 

I use Grammarly for proofreading because lectures in high school on correct punctuation and grammar still give me nightmares! After reviewing this blog the Grammarly online tool told me to "try harder", just like my old English teacher did...

Do we all have a story to tell?

I've recently been mulling why it is that so many people feel compelled to write stories. It's a very old proverb but "everyone has a story to tell" was just ingrained into me when I was growing up, and I never thought why that was until now.

Image courtesy of Jppi - MorgueFile:

However, since publishing Tweet of Faith and System Error: In Your Favour though I've met several people who had absolutely no interest in writing a story themselves. Many of them have asked me how I managed to complete and put 2 stories out there into the public realm.

So, after having my opinion changed I began to wonder why it was that I liked to write.

Helping other writers along

Looking back, I soon realised that I've been sort of writing for a long time. I say "sort of" because for many years, my preferred method of writing has been to take an existing piece and then ad variations/alternatives to it. 

On many movies, I would compose alternative plots in my head, changing happy endings to tragic ones, serious romantic endings to comedy silly ones, and generally trying to make the viewer second guess what was going to happen next. It was, and still is a rare delight when a movie throws up a twist or turn that I didn't see coming and therefore could not have had a chance to think of an alternative way that it could have played out.

A beginning, middle, and end

After tweaking many other writer's work in my head over the past few years, I thought it was finally time to create an original piece of my own. The original idea behind System Error: In Your Favour was to just explore what would happen if a computer developed a a consciousness of its own. What chaos would ensure?

With Tweet of Faith my initial idea was to explore whether you could realistically fall in love with someone that you hadn't actually met yet. This question always gets a divided response when I ask it between the people who say "Absolutely" to the people who immediately deny it could happen.

Getting it done

Once I'd thought of the initial idea I sketched out an initial outline of the story in both plots and then just really developed the story from there.

I think one of the things that helped me most was the fact that I am currently living away from my home country working for an international non profit organisation. The consequence of this move meant that I had the perfect opportunity to spend a significant amount of time writing my novels in the evenings and weekends. 

It also really helped when I decided to feature the sights and sounds of my current country of Thailand into both stories. It was my hope that people would pick up a flavour of the culture here whilst reading about crazy computers and comatose patients.

So, I guess the formula for my writing is:

Initial Idea + Sufficient Time + Including aspects of my current life = Completed story

Image courtesy Cohdra - MorgueFile:
I have no idea when the next idea for a story will come along, but I look forward to that exciting feeling I get when that initial concept pops into my head. Until then, I just have to keep working on improving the current stories and marketing them as best I can.

How about you? What's your writer's formula?