How do you know if you can write?

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I had finished reading the book “Questions of Travel’.  The author, Michelle De Kretzer,  wrote two stories with two points of view. One was about a man who suffered the loss of his wife and son under horrific circumstances during the war in Sri Lanka and the other was the story of a wanderlust young woman.

Perhaps I could do the same thing but instead tell one story from two points of views. What I had was an important history in my fathers letters.Could I write a book about what happened on the island?

The Australian media focussed on the murders of the husband and barely mentioned his wife. I know it was indicative of the times but this got under my skin. I wanted her to have a voice. Why had they died? What had happened?

One night I lay in bed and thought about what she must have endured . I couldn’t sleep so  I got up and wrote my first chapter.

I hadn’t written anything creative since high school. I had worked in the financial services industry for more than 30 years. What did I know about writing? I hadn’t written anything . . .  or had I. I began thinking about my working life. I had written policy, procedure, letters, emails, newsletters, speeches,templates. Perhaps I was equipped to write but didn’t have the confidence. What I did have though, was my growing obsession which drove me to just give it a go. What did I have to lose? I read that first chapter to my family and with their encouragement began to build confidence.

I went away for a weekend with some close friends and read  the first chapter. I got some positive feedback – wow. A small part of me wondered if they were humouring me . . .  or if they were just shocked to find out I wanted to write a book . . .  or maybe just surprised I could string two words together.

It was enough to spur me on to write five chapters. I picked out the events that my father wrote about then visualised the scenes with the help of the photos I had.The story was built  around the events and I  filled in the missing blanks. How did I do this? Research and imagination.

How did I know if I could write? Well, I still don’t but if it makes sense and the reader gets something out of it then I’m half way there. Aren’t I?

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5 thoughts on “How do you know if you can write?

  1. A fascinating look at how a novel is written. Many people have suggested to me that I write a book. Until I started blogging I never gave it much thought. But now I’m thinking that I could actually do it! I look forward to reading more about your journey to print!

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