any long-range goals or just wrap-ups?
This month Robin asks whether we’ve used an event in our lives, in the life of someone we know or one reported in the press in our fiction.
This might be a politer and more academic way of asking where do you get your ideas from? That is an issue that puzzles many folk. On the other hand, it might be a question of morality. Have you taken a joy or a misery lived through by yourself or others and fictionalised it?
The bald answer is yes. My most recent longer piece was the serial I wrote last year for People’s Friend. City of Discoveries had a brief as it was a commission, but I had a great deal of artistic licence within that. Showcasing Dundee’s Jam, Jute and Journalism reputation, what was my theme?
Well, my Fife granny told me a bittersweet story about how she had to leave school and go to work in a factory/mill. One day, the foreman stood behind her and ran his hands through her beautiful red hair. She resisted vigorously and implied he left her well alone thereafter. Forward a few decades and that unknown man became the baddy in my heroine granny’s story. Drew Fleming doesn’t leave my heroine alone and we have a tale of nineteenth century stalking.
And there we have it. Yes, I have and I will continue to do so. Where do I find ideas? On the bus; in the shopping queue; actually listening to the conversation of friends; reading beyond the headlines; ruthlessly analysing the minutiae of my own life.
Are you wondering what the fine fellow whose picture illustrates this post has to do with anything? Good to leave a question unanswered till the end.
My house, in an urban area, has an enclosed back garden. The garden is surrounded by three 8 foot walls and the house. Looking out one day last week, I saw the hind quarters of a deer sticking out of the rhoddies. He made himself at home, as you can see, and only left in a series of specatacular jumps, when my husband walked down the garden in the late afternoon.
We’ve been decades in this house and that’s a first. Yes, it’ll be in a story sometime soon.
How about you? Do you fictionalise life as lived for your works? You may want to visit some of the other blogs in this RR. As I’m setting this up a bit early, I can only give you my best guess of whose that will be. I’ll correct it as soon as I can.
Fiona McGier https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fionamcgier.com%2F&data=02%7C01%7C%7C888b8523f4dd4023796f08d6f2a3825c%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636963181409130301&sdata=YTgTbHc8Om5NWhYQrLecwlXWOQK0CgArIpO0CBfWSfI%3D&reserved=0
Margaret Fieland https://eur04.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmargaretfieland.wordpress.com&data=02%7C01%7C%7C888b8523f4dd4023796f08d6f2a3825c%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C636963181409120293&sdata=70H2%2FUq3SfLeYBHJd3Ra1bV7FN0MQDj2bQX4NGvWJ3Q%3D&reserved=0
With 2nd March on the cover, The People’s Friend serial I spent so much of last year researching and writing reaches its 8th and final instalment. When my subscription copy came in last Saturday, I greedily raced through the closing scenes and yet again shed a tear over one of my characters. But don’t panic, folks, nobody dies.
Don’t know whether any of you take The Weekly News, but I had my first short story for it, Trouble in Store, published in the 23rd February edition. A mere 1200 words, it was incredibly satisfying to write.
This month is devoted to an adjudication for the Scottish Association of Writers. I’ve made excellent progress partly due to being confined by an horrendous cold. Will be sending the results in this weekend and have done all the critiques. Next up is planning for the workshop I’m offering at the conference. The written word crafted to be spoken is my favourite type of writing.
Looking ahead, I’ve been asked to speak at an event marking the 150th anniversary of the Church of Scotland’s social care body. Now known as CrossReach, it provides many services for the ill and vulnerable.
1869 was some year!
Currently re-reading The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer and loving it all over again. what are you reading?
Warmest congratulations to the team at The People’s Friend as it reaches its 150th anniversary – a noteworthy moment.
Jennet, Hetty, Carrie, Elspeth, William, Thomas, John, Harold, Phemie, Mr Souter and Drew Fleming were people I spent a lot of time with last year. They are the central characters in the Anniversary Serial I wrote for The People’s Friend magazine to mark its 150th year of publication.
And also many thanks to the fiction team for inviting me in. My editor, Alan Spink sent a query e-mail in March. It was a total surprise filling me with excitement and dread in equal measure: what an honour to be asked: what a responsibility to carry. Of course, I need not have worried as the editorial support for which the magazine is known among its writers was there for me throughout. Alan in the forefront, but fiction ed, Shirley Blair adding her Dundonian voice and Magazine ed, Angela Gilchrist pointing things out when the three of us might have let our enthusiasm outstrip our writerly antennae. (Really? Ed)
1869 is a year rich in happenings if you want to write something for a woman’s magazine. My first synopsis was liked and commended, but rejected on fairly straightforward grounds. It wasn’t set in Dundee.
Cue a huge learning curve helped along by the work of Judith Flanders, Lynne Wilson and Norman Watson. The serial is not history or documentary, but it is informed by the histories written by these people about life in London, Edinburgh and Dundee for the poorer class of person.
The serial, CITY OF DISCOVERIES, is fiction and I hope you’ll join us over the eight weeks and read the stories of my lovely characters. I’m looking forward to having them arrive in my life again every week.
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