It takes a village to write a book . . . well at least mine do.

Posted: July 5, 2013 in Writing

It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child.  If this is so; and the practice of breathing life into a story is a bit like giving birth, then it makes sense to appreciate that, for me at least, writing is very much a collaborative venture.

From the beginning, my novel Magpie Game was a shared journey.  It started with a writing workshop in my year 8 English class and it continues to evolve with the support of my friends, colleagues and students.  When I first started to write (back in 2010) I only knew that I wanted to craft something, preferably a novel, that most of my students would enjoy.  The idealistic part of me hoped that in some small way I might help them as they navigate their way through the speed humps and potholes that are adolescence.  I remember asking them “Tell me, what books do you like?  What stories do you want to hear?”  They shared (although one group at least, found this a convenient distraction from the work that they would rather not be doing).  I listened and as they continued to share I kept listening.

As my story evolved chapter by chapter, my students were my first critics, telling me when they thought my characters were lame and lacking finesse and indicating when my ideas were completely off kilter with the rest of the world.  Sometimes they didn’t need to say anything, their silence or their laughter told me what they really thought.

This is not the place to specifically name those who have helped me in this journey.  I’ll save this for a very large page  titled “Acknowledgements” if and when this little book ever finds its way into publication.  Suffice to say that I have quite a few people around me that I share my work with.  I have proofreaders, unofficial editors, consultants (in various fields from industrial pop to soccer) and I even have a handsome man who brings me cups of tea at regular intervals.  Ultimately, I trust them completely to shun my ego and tell me what they really think.  I’ve learned to crave criticism since it is this and not accolades that actually has the most value when it comes to improving my writing.

Magpie Game is an adventure that continues to evolve.   For those of your who have been on the ride I thank you and invite you to keep travelling with me, wherever our final destination may be.


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