Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Three cheers for my cyber-sister, Glynis Scrivens

I'd always wanted a sister and then Glynis, who lives in Australia, found me via my website and we adopted each other.
Today Glynis gets the distinction of being my first (and maybe only) guest blogger. Over to Glynis -
Writers need to learn to see things from different angles. We can be in a situation that stresses us but need to rise above this if we're to use these feelings and experiences in a story.
Here's an example.
A few months ago our dog, Benny, kept getting on my nerves. He's a lovable mongrel, don't get me wrong, but one day I said to a friend, "Icould kill that dog today."
"Do it," said Bruce. He's a writer too and knew I was dabbling in whodunits.
"No editor is going to use a story about a dog getting murdered," I said.
"Then make him a man," said Bruce.
And I did. I gave him the qualities that'd been bugging me about Benny - and I gave him his name so my feelings would come across in my writing.
It worked.
Woman's Day bought the story last week.
Next time something or someone bugs you, tap into those feelings. But do it from a perspective that works for you. Step outside the experience, don't be limited by it.


  1. I've always wanted a sister too! How lovely that you and Glynis adopted each other.

    And thanks to Glynis for a great guest post. Changing perspective on a story can make all the difference can't it.

  2. Yep, it's good to be reminded of all the ways that ol' question 'what IF?' can be asked. 'What if that was a man, not a dog?' isn't one that would naturally occur to me, LOL!
    Oh and thanks Lynne for your links page - I hadn't looked at it before, but lucky I did today. It took me to 'askaboutwriting', and hey presto - a competition for a romance story based on a National Trust property! Hooray - I was blown away by a visit to a National Trust property with an amazingly diverse history in the half-term,and had already decided it had oodles of material, probably for a novel.Perhaps I could submit a first chapter, as the nature of the novel I have in mind would support chapters-as-separate-stories quite well. Thanks!
    Now that will keep me out of mischief for a while... ;-)

  3. Glad to be of use, writeous. I don't usually shorten names but thought I'd make an exception here.
    I'm still telling everyone about a NT property I visited two years ago. It still haunts me. I wonder if we both fell for the same one.

  4. Hmmm, writing about people we'd like to murder. I thought the best advice was only to have four characters in a short story? Oh well, trust me to have to write an epic then!

    Great advice from Glynis though. It's a good example of taking that initial idea one step further in order to create the right idea.

  5. Well if you had only 4 characters and they were ALL murdered, you'd have to set it in Oxford and call on Morse, LOL...

    The property was Houghton (pronounced Ho-ton)Mill, Lynne, near Huntingdon. It's the last mill on the Ouse in working order (but much to my disappointment I visited on a Saturday, not knowing they only run it on Sundays and BH'days). There's a fascinating timeline display inside, but they haven't published a guidebook with all the info in (yes, I did ask! ;-) ) - and the NT website has a very potted history. Other websites have bits and pieces though. I'm guessing it's not the NT property you've got in mind, but I could be wrong!
    There's been a mill on the site for over a thousand years. Shivers up the spine...