If I have any advice at all for would-be prose writers, it’s this: don’t worry about it. You will, of course, but in the end you must reach a point where you trust yourself to get the story across. You do need to learn your craft but you will learn. Whether it’s by practice or going on a course, you’ll hone your talents because you want to.
If you ar a plotter that needs to lay a story out in full before you write it, if you’re a seat-of-the-pants merchant who makes it up as you go along – fine. Do it your way but make sure of one thing: do your research. It needn’t be as onerous as it sounds – you may only need to look up a couple of things – but if you don’t do it, there’ll be a gap in your thinking and it’ll show in your writing.
Once you’ve got all that under your belt, sit down, take a deep breath and just start. You’ve built this story in your head, mulled it over in quiet moments, now let it flow through your fingers. Think of it as an archaeological dig. The whole structure is in your head – you are simply digging it up.
Ha ha, my niece and nephew may read that one day. Both of them are storytellers and both have mugged me for USB flash sticks recently. Mummy (my sister) has a laptop but no charger. The charger from my netbook fits it so one child gets the fully charged netbook and one gets the cable for Mum’s laptop. Apart from using me as a walking talking spellcheck, silence reigns as both children create their literary worlds. They have even taken over my bedroom, of an evening, because Mum and I were watching the soaps and it was interfering with their concentration. I love it. They don’t want to read my stuff (huh!) but all those greek myths that I acted out for them and my unique way of reading Where Wild Things Are , has obviously helped to fire up their imaginations and I’m reaping the benefit when I get to read their stories.
The cable from my laptop also fits Mum’s laptop but don’t let on to the kids. They’re like starlings. Stripping me of two USB sticks, a cable and a net-book isn’t enough, they won’t rest until they get everything!