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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Slow and steady, but 'Finish' the race

“I love research so much that I do an enormous amount; it helps put off the moment of starting to write the story.” – Alan Garner

I think there are few writers who wouldn’t agree with Garner.  Gathering the info. that you want to utilize as the foundation for your stories is always a gratifying and fulfilling thing.  And, of course, most writers are procastinators by nature – knowing that they should put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard, but just dreading how things are going to start and where they are going to lead.

It took me 30 years to get all the “right” things gathered for my novel And The Wind Whispered, and then once I got going another 5 to get it written – each delay caused by my feeling that I “just needed to get a couple more key facts in place before moving on.”  Finally, as every author knows, you’ve got to kick the kid out the door.  In other words, get busy and write.

Today is Garner’s birthday.  Born in the front room of his grandmother’s house in Cheshire, England in 1932, he grew up there and chose to set most of his books in that northwestern English county.  Best known for his children's fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales, his work is firmly rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county.

And, he knows where-of he speaks.  He has been noted for his “slow, but steady” writing style, which may take time but always produces winners and which has earned him almost every major writing award for honoring literature for young people.

When asked again about that “procrastination thing,” Garner said, “ Look, if you are going to write, nothing will stop you, and if you are not going to write, nothing will make you.”  Got it.

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