The Fears and Tribulations of a Writer…

So, you have finished your novel? No opening the Prosecco and crisps.  It’s time to rewrite it. That’s a hard pill to swallow, but unless you do embark on this tedious journey, you will never know if your plot, your characters or your idea to write the thing in the first place, was worthwhile and had any mileage.

Writing is a craft. It takes time and the sort of care a new baby deserves.  I have been trying to write for the last five years. I have published four books through an online site called Feedaread, funded by the UK Arts Council. It’s given me a chance to flex my writing muscles and find my writer’s voice – every writer must find this elusive piece of kit. It’s hidden somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind and doesn’t come out to play willingly.

When I read my finished work, there is often a sudden urge to declare it a load of old tosh and chuck into that little dustbin sign or press the delete button. I’m a fan of recycling, so after a cup of coffee or two and possibly a chocolate biscuit (or two), I start to work on recycling my writing. That may sound a bit lame, but it works for me. If I tell myself to cut, cut, cut, I start to lose heart and eat more biscuits.

For many years, I worked as a theatre director and a filmmaker. Life wasn’t half so difficult. You see, in those salubrious professions, you are not working alone. You have the bonus of lots of people around you, to tell you when your work is rubbish, too long, badly edited, crap!

As a novelist, you are stuck in a room with a computer, lots of dirty cups, a miserable dog who needs a walk and hope, (that’s not a person with the capital letter missing, it’s an emotion and probably has an emoji). At least I am, most of the time. You see, I always thought I was pretty good at spelling and grammar. Oh, folly! When I write, everything I learned in those literature/drama/writing lectures goes up a chimney. Why is that?

The recycling brings all those horrible mistakes to light. Who spells striped with the letter P twice? That’s stripped; something you do to wallpaper, right? Who puts too many commas, too few semicolons, far too many exclamation marks? Moi? That’s right. Why? Why? Why?

I learned how to spell and use English grammar at school. Yet, somehow the words flow out of me like racing banshees when I’m starting a chapter and the rules those dedicated teachers taught me all those years ago, disappear in the heat of the writing moment. Spelling etc becomes a hit and miss affair, as my fingers hit the keys and the story unfolds on the screen.

How to remedy this rebellion that happens in the space between head and fingers? Well, one way is to edit and rewrite until your fingers and your brain disintegrate, like melting lard on a hot hob. Not very pretty, but essential.

The next job, once you’ve put down the last full stop, is to turn the bloody PC off and GO FOR A WALK! (Dog is thrilled). I try not to look at the manuscript for at least three days. It’s like a well-made Christmas cake; it needs time to soak up the brandy and let the flavours develop. The idea is that when you come back to your precious book, it will jump out at you as a work of genius and your fortune will be assured.

Nope. That is not what happens to most writers. Sorry. If this career is your chosen path, failure is inevitable. Rejection is something you will have to cope with without on-going therapy. After five years at it, I quite enjoy rejection slips, especially if I am assured that my work is ever so slightly better than most of the unreadable rubbish the poor hard-working editor has had to read that week.

Writer out there, don’t despair. Share your rejection angst. I promise I will read every word.

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Doing my bit, talking to other writers. Hope they are listening…

 

 

 

WORLD​ BOOK NIGHT

Tonight is World Book Night. I remember the first book I read. Do you?

As a late reader, it was the persistent encouragement from my mother and a particularly vigilant, rather large nun (I was educated at a convent) who together, pushed me to read and engage in the magical world hidden within the pages. 

That book was called The Night The Moon Turned Blue. It was the first book I managed to read on my own, from start to finish. At the time, it was like climbing Everest. I was seven and a slow reader. I remember so well that feeling of total joy and satisfaction, combined with a huge sense of loss when I reached the final page. I wanted more and became an avid visitor to my local library, turning up in the morning during school holidays to choose a book and returning it in the afternoon, much to the annoyance of the librarian, who told me I was lying when I said I’d read it already and wanted to borrow another book.

Sadly, I can’t remember the author of The Night The Moon Turned Blue – it’s a long time ago, but if anyone knows, do please email me. I’d love my grandchildren to read it. However, I do remember some of the characters and the bones of the story. It stays with me to this day.

That’s what books do. They touch your heart and soul and make memories that linger like the aroma of a wonderful meal. You digest the words as pictures manifest in your mind, different from the pictures every other reader will see. Books address you, personally. Their intimacy is unique.

Get involved in WORLD BOOK NIGHT. More info here: www.worldbooknight.org

Contact me here.  https://www.facebook.com/toastandbooksandfilm/

Happy reading!

Below, my next book, out soon.

JONTY'S WIN

 

 

 

 

CURRENT NEWS

MAKING IT HAPPEN – 6th April 2018

20170217_141902Five years ago, I began writing novels. It’s been a tough learning curve, but one I’ve enjoyed. There have been lots of hiccups and ups and downs in my personal life during the last five years. Writing is all consuming and I didn’t expect to become a full-time carer, juggling time like a mad woman at the start of my next piece of serious writing. It’s been ironic, as one of my most successful plays CARERS explored that subject in depth, ten years ago. Many early mornings and late nights allowed me to fit writing in when I could. Tearing hair out would be a good description of my feelings at certain moments during the past year! Has it been worth it? Absolutely. My wonderful partner is making progress after his stroke and life is on a more even keel, at last, though he will always have some disability. Writing has helped me cope with the rush of unexpected emotions any family trauma brings. It keeps me focused and helped me cope with the everyday chaos I had to face when I realised I was responsible for everything while my partner was recovering. One thing I learned was never to take anything for granted and always be thankful. Loving someone very much also helped, as did the wonderful support I received from my family and friends. I can’t thank them enough.

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I am now about to publish my next book JONTY’S WIN. This book is a sequel to my first novel PRETENDING. I wanted to explore the characters I’d created in more detail, discovering what might happen to them in the future. The book has not turned out the way I expected. Those pushy characters took me on a journey that led me down lots of garden paths and round the bend at times. In the end, I capitulated and the novel was finished and is now with publisher Feedaread.com and should be out very soon.

JONTY'S WINJONTY’S WIN is a quirky, humorous romance that looks at what happens when someone wins a vast amount of money on the lottery. Thanks for reading my blog and watch this space for a publishing date for JONTY’S WIN.  Lyn. x

Lyn Ferrand is the founder of Turning Point Theatre Company, Buzzword Films and most recently, Turnaround Films. She has written and directed film and theatre since 1990, working in association with a wide variety of voluntary and statutory agencies. In 2000 she launched Buzzword Interactive Films with Greg Browning. Buzzword and Turning Point Theatre won several awards for training films and theatre productions, including The National Training Awards.

Her film and theatre projects have been commissioned by many different clients in the voluntary and statutory sectors and used to highlight specific health and social issues, as well as for training healthcare professionals.

tlc_front_pageAwards: National Training Awards for the film THE LOST CHILD, The Skills For Care Accolades, Pavilion Innovations in Training and Prudential Carers Award. My work has been shortlisted for The Charity Awards and received four stars in Community Care Magazine.

Lyn was the Diversity Manager for DREC, creating diversity training for The Crown Prosecution Service and the Devon and Cornwall Police, including writing and producing the film NICE PEOPLE which looked at issues around rural racism.

Since 2015, Lyn has written three novels, published by Feedaread. Her books can also be found on Amazon.com and other online book outlets. Lyn is a member of The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.

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