Where to start? So you've got all these ideas whizzing about in your head and perhaps you've had a few abortive attempts to write the perfect novel. How do you actually turn your ideas into the real thing.
For me it was an Open University online creative writing course. Over three months a group of twenty people worked through a set of creative challenges, each one a little bit more complex than the last. We started with 100 word scenes and worked out way up to a 1500 word short story.
I had a great time and i learned loads. One of the biggest things was understanding what i liked about the books i read. i like novels with a small number of well drawn characters (i can't cope with too many major characters; i just get confused). I love the early Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child but, as the series progressed, i was less enamoured and i realised that, with each new book, i wasn't really learning much about the character. i kept going, and was rewarded for that when i read 61 hours, which told me a little bit about Reacher's back story and introduced a new, enigmatic, character - Reacher's replacement - who may play a large part in future stories.
As part of the course, i wrote a piece that created a character. I didn't know much about her - not even her name, but thought it would be interesting to follow the character through the rest of the course and see what i could do with her. In the next few exercises another character developed. He had a name - Gabriel York - and a job; a Captain in the Imperial Navy
By the end of the course i'd developed a slight obsession with these two and really wanted to know what was going to happen to them. Suddenly i was a writer and 100,000 words later i had an answer to my question.
The next entry will be the first story i wrote about my main character.