You think that’s an easy question to answer? Allow me to elaborate.

I began writing about six years ago. Before that, I had no idea I could write, let alone put a few novels together, write short stories, scripts, blogs or win writing competitions.  I remember thinking at the time, when I first took out my shiny laptop and pressed a few keys, that it was rather strange. I mean, you don’t suddenly wake up one day and say, 'hey, I think I’ll be a prize winning writer.' For one thing you need to know how, right? You need to be able to spell, know good grammar, know how to dot your 'I's and cross your 't's. You need to know how to put a story together with a beginning, a middle and an end. You need to know how to develop characters, how to write great dialogue, know what a POV means and an M.S and you even have to know how to format the damn thing, double spaced, 12pt Times New Roman, indents etc......

With regards to the skills mentioned above, I have to say it IS possible to learn that stuff. I know this, because I have...learned that stuff. It has taken me six years of much heart ache and I still get things wrong. Recently I found out I couldn’t spell vulture. It came out as vulcher. A mental block? I hope so.

But with all these new found skills, my biggest perplexity was where my imagination came from, for surely that can’t be learned. You could have the best writing skills in the world, but if you can’t drum up a collection of stories, what do you do? You can’t learn to be a master at art. Yes, you can learn the painting techniques in order to create a piece, but would you ever be able to create that masterpiece and become an icon in death? A snooker player can learn the rules of his game, but if he hasn’t got the ‘eye’, he would never compete in world master tournaments. Would he?

So back to my question.  What came first, the book or the author?

Take someone like me. From a very early age I used to collect data in my very exploratory brain. I watched people. I stripped their characters down, learned how to trust or not trust. I listened to how they spoke, I watched how they furnished their houses, who they married, how they raised their kids. I watched their facial expressions and their body language so that I almost knew what they were thinking. In summary, I was a little weirdo.

I was just seven when a cousin took me to her neighbour’s house. She was a very old lady (the neighbour, not the cousin) and so fascinated was I by her great age and her old fashioned furniture, that to this day I can remember every little detail of her home, even down to how it smelled. I did that a lot. Weird, huh?

All my life I have wondered why I absorbed all that information. What use was it and how could I harness it? But now I know why. Six years ago I discovered a fascination for writing; for telling stories, creating new worlds, committing crimes, creating ordinary characters in extreme circumstances; instilling detail into them, dressing them, furnishing their houses, making them think....

So the answer to my question, for me, is: The book. The book came first and then the writer, because I already had the imagination, I just didn’t have the skill.

Take a moment to think about the great authors. Bronte: Yes, she knew how to express herself by the use of the written word, but without her wonderful characters, her imagination and her attention to detail, would she have been published? And would she now be known as one of the greats?

And how about you? What came first, the book or the author? Do tell. Comments always welcome.
xx

3/13/2012

shakespeare only had a creaky old quill pen and some ink.so the author came fast.10,000 monkies on typewriters could write all his works if they had infinite time.

Wendy is such an intelligent lady,bound to succeed. Bruno

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pauline
3/13/2012

you are bloody wonderful mrs reakes xxxx

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Carol
3/14/2012

Good post Wendy.

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4/10/2012

You'll get there, Wendy. Brilliant posts from a great girl. Amazing stories from an amazing story teller.
x

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