Where does the inspiration come from?

I have given this some thought and I think when one starts to read in the early years of primary school, there is a compulsion to write for yourself. It may start with the compositions or essays that the teacher might ask for. You write about a particular subject and you write it as it appears to you. There is no emphasis on historical fact, so you can make it up from your imagination. This is the match that when set alight becomes inspiration.

Later, when you write and want it published, you are not deterred by rejections because the well-received essays at school gave you the confidence to write and not be put off.

I have mentioned before that one should read as much as one writes. By doing this, you are feeding your mind and soul with a variety of facts about life and also about ways of writing.

Recently my reading has included –

Goldenrod by Herbert Harker.  Surprise Party by William Katz.  At the going down of the sun by Elizabeth Darrell.  Jester by James Patterson.

I treated myself yesterday with a Harper Lee novel – Go Set a Watchman. I can’t wait to start reading it.

So have fun writing and enjoy reading worthwhile novels.


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Should writing be a punishment?

I recently read that an author of repute thought writing was an exhausting struggle. Others found the process painful and think of it as running a marathon. I asked myself – Why do they do it, if it is so punishing? Even if at the end of their painful journey, they find themselves pleased with the outcome, did the pleasure outweigh the pain?

I couldn’t justify the time spent working on a novel, if I didn’t get enjoyment from the writing. Seeing what my characters do and how they behave in certain situations is enlightening. A light gets switched on because they do things I don’t anticipate. It’s only as you write, things happen beyond what was expected and you are surprised by the outcome.

This is one way to learn about life. Although you are writing from experience, some of it is from what you have heard, read or imagined. Imagination is a very powerful and a writer’s best tool in my opinion.

Writing is a pleasure for me, not a punishment.

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Is it necessary to research?

Normally I do very little research and it is only when I am unsure about some fact that I look it up. But after a recent experience, maybe I should consider the benefits of researching something more fully.

Recently I looked after a dog because the owner was not going to be at home for four days. I like dogs and cats, but I’ve never contemplated owning them or having them about the house all the time.

I felt terrible responsible that nothing should happen to the cute and loveable dog while it was in my care, so much so, I never left the house. The thought that if something should happen to me if I went out and left the poor animal to its fate, was inconceivable.

However, the result of having kept him safe and sound, resulted in writing a short story for a woman’s magazine. Of course, in the story I take the dog out, go down the beach and meet a long lost friend and a romance is kindled

What I am saying is sometimes to get ideas, we have to have new experiences. And another way to do this is through research e.g. visit a place you have never been or if you know nothing about keeping birds or fish or snakes = Look it up! Find out! And this could give you brand new ideas for writing..



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Should the sixth be my last?

I feel I’m running out of ideas to murder the next victim. It has to be realistic in the circumstances I have set up.

My crime novels have the same kind of criminal – plucked from what I believe can happen to a human being, who is thwarted, tempted or out of control.

My detective has a life, which is like the man in the street, who is beset with problems.

In my stories, the criminal always gets caught.

So, I’m stuck with a rigid story. I’ve got away with the storyline for five novels and I think I need a reprieve. But I have a compulsion to write and It’s as important to me as breathing – maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but I think you will get my meaning.

I’ve reached 45,000 words in my sixth novel and I’d be disappointed if I gave up at this point. Maybe I’ve reached the decision stage about it being the last in this series.

All my books are ebooks and can be downloaded from Amazon under my pen-name – Sarah Wallace.

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Should I put myself on the spot?

I was invited to tell people about my writing journey to a group of elderly people. I hesitated, but eventually agreed to do it. Part of me enjoyed the thought of expounding to an audience about my passion for writing, but I knew I would find it nerve-wracking.

I had months to prepare because it was for the next year’s syllabus and I could make excuses if I felt ill-at-ease about the whole affair. But although I was nervous about standing up in front of an audience, I wanted to do it.

At home I tried to talk out loud by remembering how my novels came about, but I found myself hesitating and stumbling. The words were slow in coming and I thought the audience would become impatient and walk out before I had finished.

I finally decided to write my writing journey in pages – one for each step of the way. It seemed to show a natural progression.

At last the day came and although I had several broken nights of sleep, I was determined to see it through. The evidence of the courses I had taken and my bookmarks for marketing were placed on a table beside my make-shift lectern. I had a microphone attached to my ear with the mouthpiece appearing at the front of my face.

I relaxed my body and took a deep breath and introduced myself and started to speak about what I was most passionate about – My Writing.

The audience’s reaction to my talk built up my confidence and by question time, I was in my element. I wondered why I had been so nervous. I was tickled pink that everything had worked out delightfully. I need not have worried at all.

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What is to be gained by joining a writing group?

In my opinion quite a lot.

Everyone is encouraged to put pen to paper by being given ‘Homework’, which is a piece of writing on a certain subject about 250 words in length.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced writer, this gives you the opportunity to write what you personally think of the subject and you don’t have to worry if it will match someone else’s effort, because this is the way you see it and everybody is entitled to their opinion. It doesn’t have to be in prose. You can write a poem about the subject.

In the beginning, everyone is encouraged. No-0ne is uncomplimentary about what you write, so that by listening to other samples of writing, you can learn by example and discern what is good and what is poor. There will be pieces you will like more than others.

One of the advantages of being in a writing group is the opportunity to read out your work. For some people, it might be their first time that someone has heard what they have written. It can be quite frightening that their private thoughts have become public. For writers, this is something you have to overcome. So a writing group can be your first audience. Hopefully as time goes on you see them as friends, after all they are sharing their thoughts with you.

The next step is doing a ten minute exercise within the group. This is not homework, which is done in the privacy of your own home. This piece of writing is quite daunting as you don’t know the subject until you are given the task on the day. There is very little time to think abut it. It’s a matter of – ‘Here is the exercise and the time starts now’.

This exercise has proved useful as everybody has learned to lift their pen and somehow they start to write because they have so little time. It might seem like a load of rubbish at times, but there are always a jewel to be found amongst it.

Writers normally lead a lonely life because this is the life they have chosen, so a writing group can be a comfort zone and an oasis.

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Should I tell or show what the word BEAUTY means?

This is an example of SHOWING rather than TELLING.


I nearly freaked out when I heard the two women say my name in hushed tones. My ears twitched, I had to hear what they were saying about me and more importantly that it was me and not someone else by the same name. They sat two seats in front of me in the bus and obviously they didn’t know I was there.

“It’s true,” said the woman with the black rinsed hair. “She’s been seeing the butcher over the past year and they’ve got awfully friendly. My cousin wouldn’t lie to me.”

The other woman cocked her ear and didn’t say much except, “You don’t say or I can hardly believe it.”

I seethed. I wanted to go down and punch them for mentioning my name on public transport and ask them if they realised they were broadcasting someone’s secret life, but what good would that do? It would only bring attention to myself and give them more to talk about.

When I got home, I threw off my coat and let my handbag find a place on the floor. How could she have told someone about me? I thought we had a beautiful friendship and I treasured it up until now. A real friend wouldn’t have divulged my secret love affair. I was crushed, broken and I sobbed my heart out.

Afterwards the world seemed an ugly place, even the roses I had brought in from the garden to adorn my kitchen had lost their glow. I decided I wouldn’t confront my so-called friend and accuse her of what she had done, but the closeness we had shared was lost and I doubted if I could ever trust anyone again.

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