Wednesday 31 July 2013


Trust your gut
I have been doing a lot of reading for a chapter I am writing with a colleague. Today I read a paper, which though unlikely to make into the chapter, was very interesting. It was by Ursula K. Le Guin entitled 'A matter of trust.' I came away from it with two important quotes. Firstly, 'in order to write a story, you have to trust yourself, you have to trust your story and you have to trust the reader.' I would actually add one more to that. You have to trust your editor too.

I am not always great a trusting the reader and often find myself particularly when I am first splurging a story down I end up showing the reader something and then telling them the same thing. A bit of overkill. I did some fairly serious editing again to my novel this week and suddenly found myself with a very short novel. Oops! Tomorrow is about building the story up.

You have to remember that the story should consist of clues that allow the reader to create their own picture and develop a narrative based on their cultural moment and your thoughts. Trust your reader.

When writing it is important to trust yourself too, that gut instinct. If it doesn't feel right it invariably isn't. Again I have found this out from experience. I have not been convinced about a part of the narrative but neither have I had the confidence to remove it. Inevitably IC will pick up on it and say take that out. I have learnt through bitter experience, if worried, take it out. You won't regret it.

This all adds up to the second quote I found in the same piece 'A story is a collaboration between a teller and audience, writer and reader. Fiction is not only illusion, but collusion.' You may think you write on your own but actually you are never alone. You have your potential reader sitting on one shoulder and your editor on the other, both of whom you are colluding with creating the best story you can.

You have to trust your gut instinct about some other things too. I have been a bit quiet on the blog because I have been on leave and being doing a lot of thinking. This has led to some quite difficult decisions. Let's hope my gut instinct is right on this one too!

Just remember everyone, have belief in yourself.

This is for my children who have helped me through the last few months and listened as I tried to make these decisions. Thank you. Our song from the dim distant past xx

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