Monday, 7 April 2014


For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed making up stories. I don’t actually remember a time when I didn’t; I have a vivid memory of visiting an old family friend (named Percy, who always called me Topsy for some reason) with my parents. I must’ve been about four and had a picture book called It’s Eight O’Clock, Said The Cock memorised, I was getting restless and my Mum had me recite the story’s rhyme to keep me occupied; I remember adding in bits of my own. From a language development point of view I guess I was just playing with word sounds; from a creative point of view it was a kind of fan fiction!

I used to ‘play’ stories in the school playground recruiting friends to take parts in the action. I made a little book once and illustrated it for my brother (who was just a baby at the time); it was called William Rabbit and was about a little rabbit who needed glasses, apparently inspired by my Five Minute Bunny Tales book. As I grew up so did my stories and their characters, I experimented with different genres and styles, and even occasionally shared what I wrote with friends or family.

But in recent years I’ve not written so much, with the exception of doing a Creative Writing course through the OU and NaNoWriMo (with varying degrees of success) each year. It’s a question of having time and inspiration as much as anything.

Last Sunday I found myself feeling well and truly inspired.

I found that a lot of the songs I was selecting as my favourites linked in some way to the year I was seventeen when I had a friend visit from down south and we both began writing stories. Behind the Scenes was the result; 76 handwritten A4 pages which I had started rewriting and updating a few years ago. Until I found myself losing momentum and deviating from the original story, I grew disheartened by the monster I was creating and set it aside in a drawer.

But listening to all those songs reminded me of it. So out of the drawer it came. And I read it. And realised that it wasn’t all bad. It’s a bit shaky in places but it’s not all bad. Bits of it are only technically the first draft after all so they’re allowed to be a bit rubbish; other bits are technically a third draft so they have no excuse.

I was around page 70 of the handwritten rewrite and I suddenly felt inspired to try my hand at it again. It’s amazing how easily I’ve slipped back into it. All the characters are as familiar as old friends and although I’ve had a couple of sticking points I’m sailing ahead with it, in under a week I’d written around 15 pages. I'm now fast approaching my 100th handwritten page!

It’s still going to need a lot of polishing (which will happen when I type it up… whenever it gets to it’s denouement) but I may actually want to share it at some point, either on here or some other fiction site. But maybe someday it might actually see the light of day. At least it’s not stuck in a drawer any more.

See, the A to Z Challenge has many uses!

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