My burning ambition, from when I was in my early teens, has been to write historical fiction. Now, my ambition is Getting it published.
I spent 30+ years as a journalist, for newspapers, magazines and the BBC, and then turned to teaching – computer skills, business and creative writing. I’m still teaching, when I can, but I’m also trying to get my novel Pathway to the Gods published.
I started writing the novel seven years ago but a few thousand words in, I decided I needed professional help. I was thrilled to get a place on Brunel University’s MA in Creative Writing: The Novel. For the dissertation, I had to write the first 35,000 words. I was extremely fortunate in finding a group of fellow writers from that course who wanted to form a support group after finishing our two-year course. Without regular lectures and assignments, we all recognised it would be difficult going it alone. So, we each wrote two chapters a month and then met up, over lunch, to critique each other’s work.
One of our group has gone on to write screenplays, making two films and getting shortlisted in many competitions, while we other three all finished our novels. Two of us gained agents who, sadly, didn’t find us publishers so we are back to square one there.
I was very fortunate in getting my novel shortlisted in the Wilbur Smith Unpublished Novel Competition two years ago. I’m still trying to find a new agent but am also two-thirds through writing the sequel.
In the meantime, I have started another project which I hope will come to fruition some time this year. I’m putting together a non-fiction book containing the handouts from my creative writing classes over the past 20 years. (Having just written that, I can’t believe it’s been that long!) It’ll be a good starting point for beginners but also a reference book for more established writers. I shall be including some of the articles and exercises that have appeared on this website plus, I’m hoping, 365 writing prompts! I shall probably self-publish and I’m hoping it will be great as a Christmas present – for you and your writing buddies! I’ll keep you posted.