Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Once upon a time...by Keren David

 New year, new book. But where to start?
Do you look for a strong premise -  that magical 'what if?' which sparks a dozen new questions?
Or do you  create strong characters, then build a plot around them?
Some writers plan a series arc, then work on individual books like episodes in a television series. Others are inspired by a picture, a chance conversation or a particular place.
So far I've always started with newspaper stories -  a child in witness protection, a teenage girl winning the lottery. I like stories which link to big themes, and I try and ease them in so the readers hardly notice.
My first book, When I Was Joe started with this story, about a small child who was the victim of a crime, the hero of the story, but ended up having to leave his home,. change his name and go into lifelong hiding.  It was informed by many more, including the ordeal of teenage witness Danielle Cable who saw her fiance stabbed to death by gangster Kenneth Noye, and the inspiring story of Shelly Woods, paralympic athlete. The villain owed a lot to David Norris, son of a notorious South London gangster, and jailed -  finally -  this week for the murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Sometimes I write things and then -  eerily -  find that real life comes very near to my imagination. This terrible story of an accidental death, for example, comes very near to aone of my storylines, but I heard about it after I wrote the book.
For me, the writing process is bolstered by real life -  not just news stories, but also conversations with friends, children, things I overhear on buses.  How does it work for you?

8 comments:

catdownunder said...

I am not, of course, a published writer and I know I may not be but I do know my ideas come from "all over the place". One of the starting points was a true story told to me in the course of doing some research. Another seemed to come out of nowhere - and I still do not understand what prompted it. As one of the most common questions from young readers is , "Where do you get your ideas from??" I think I may have a problem if I ever have to answer it - or is "all over the place" an adequate answer?

Ria- The Beaucoup Review. said...

When I write, I just write. Your planning is so structured [your inspirations etc], which is maybe why I've never finished writing anything...
I loved reading this, it was nice to see things from a published authors point of view.

Abi Burlingham said...

I totally agree Keren. Writing for me is an assimilation of what's going on around me - even if the connections aren't always obvious. Just a few words that someone says can spark an idea for a new story, or provide a new angle. I find that reading has a similar affect. Reading a book on wolves over Christmas out of interest, with no intention of writing about them, I suddenly had a lightbulb moment for a scene in the current YA I am writing - Voila! I love those moments.

Kate said...

For me it's a premise, and then the characters.

Hoping to get going on something new for the new year too :-)

Ness Harbour said...

Keren I will you totally on this. My inspiration can come from all sorts of places. News stories, snippets of conversations of stories I over hear, talking with friends, my children, things I read and see. Often it will take me by surprise in which case I make a note of it for later use. Happy writing Keren!

Ness Harbour said...

Keren I will you totally on this. My inspiration can come from all sorts of places. News stories, snippets of conversations of stories I over hear, talking with friends, my children, things I read and see. Often it will take me by surprise in which case I make a note of it for later use. Happy writing Keren!

Hayley Long said...

So interesting! I've got to be honest, I haven't got a bloody clue how I've written anything. I just know it hurts my head.

Hayley Long said...

So interesting! I've got to be honest, I haven't got a bloody clue how I've written anything. I just know it hurts my head.