Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trippin Tippin Thursday!

D.W. Carver
Her website

I have been writing since I learned how to do it at the age of seven. I had always told myself stories and writing them down just seemed like the natural thing to do. I wish I still had some but I tended to get annoyed if I thought they weren’t good enough and threw them out. In my early teens I took on a newspaper delivery route – it was long and boring. I started to write a novel in my head, a chapter a day. It was pretty bad but kept me entertained. I suppose this mental writing became part of my life and for some reason I didn’t need to put these words on paper so I ‘wrote’ a let of novels and short stories that never made it past my head which was probably just as well.

However, what this system did was develop a way of composition for me that required ‘balance’ – it had to scan like lines of poetry (not rhyme of course). At school it used to annoy me that other English students couldn’t see that their poetry didn’t work. The cleverness of the words and ideas meant nothing to me if the whole thing didn’t have the proper shape.  Of course I had no idea what this shape should be, I just knew when it didn’t happen.

For some years as a young adult I did very little writing then I became a community mental health counsellor, working in East London, England for a charity. There were a great many self-help books out there for the area of work we specialized in (anxiety disorders and OCD) but I found that many of our clients did not read from choice and preferred the anecdotal form of counselling – stories about other people’s experiences with the problem. I found I was repeating myself so much that I decided to write the ‘talks’ down. Field testing these books and booklets with clients - getting feedback on what actually worked for them - was an excellent apprenticeship for novel writing. This plus my need for balance in the written word has given me the style I use today.

For anyone new to writing, there is no substitute for simply doing it. Writing is a craft that is honed by experience and long practise. Technical books help but they won’t make you a good writer. I know some people can sit down and plan a book chapter by chapter like producing a blueprint. I can’t do that. My stories seem to develop as I write; often changing radically if the balance of a character feels wrong. I sometimes think it’s a bit like the days when I use to make plasticine models for my sons. I’d roll it into a tube shape, give it a couple of twists then inspect it to see what the object ‘wanted to be’ from the new shape I had made. If that doesn’t make sense then my writing system is not one that will suit you.


Currently I am writing a sequel to ‘Desperation’. I spent a good deal of time being a talking head for UK radio and TV on anxiety disorders and am having fun describing Kate’s experiences in this world. Anyone who wants to read ‘Desperation’ can find details of this and other books on my website (

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