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Tuesday, 8 February 2011


I think I mentioned some time ago (a long time ago actually) that I had come across the first manuscript I had ever written. Well, I found time today to take it out of its box. It didn't start out as a HM&B, it was just going to be a love story to please myself, I had no thought of trying to get it published. But the more I wrote the more I realised that I wanted to do something with it. The thing was I didn't know how to go about it.

I found out there were such things as Writer's Circles and I joined my local one. By this time I'd written about 25,000 words and I was lucky in that the lady who ran it was a HM&B writer - or just M&B as it was in those days. Her name was Norrey Ford, I don't know whether any of you have ever heard of her? Don't forget this was in the 70's, so she must have been writing in the 60's, maybe even earlier.

These were her first words:

This is a promising beginning, but you will realise it is a beginning, and not yet anything like submitting to a publisher. Most writers, even experienced professionals, do 2 or 3 drafts before a book is finally polished sufficiently. However if you are prepared to work like a galley slave, through blood, sweat and tears, like all professionals do at the beginning, you'll make it - possibly in a couple of years, though some take at least three. Writing is not an easy profession and I would never encourage anyone who didn't have what it takes - that would lead to too much heartbreak. I do think you have what it takes, but only you can tell if you have the stick-to-it-ness and the will to succeed. By your reaction to this first critique on the manuscript you will find out for yourself what you can take, and I shall certainly know.

The date of this was September 1974 and my first book was published in January 1976, less than the 2-3 years she prophesied. So I guess I did have the stick-to-it-ness and the will to succeed.

That first manuscript was my learning curve, it didn't get accepted but I knew by then what I wanted to do and which direction I needed to take. Just for fun here is the first paragraph. I called it Live For Tomorrow. (which I realise now sounds like a James Bond film!!)

Trina sat with her head buried in her hands. The sunlight slanting through the window enhanced the golden tones of her long silken hair. Unaware of the picture she made, the glow of the evening sun givining her an almost ethereal appearance, she lifted her head. Her clear blue eyes and wide, generous mouth gave the impression of sudden determination.

This isn't so far off the style I write now - and I could almost use this paragraph as an opening to a new novel. In fact it's given me an idea...