Lightning Bolts and Dragons

Well, it’s time to come clean. I have been holding off telling my family that I am writing until I had something that I could be proud of. The last couple of days have finally delivered that something in a dragon-shaped lightning bolt.

I have a finished book! No, really. Ok, maybe I should have warned you to sit down first…Recovered? I’ll carry on then.

The thing is, the book is not a major, groundbreaking work that I’ve been meticulously researching for months, nor an outstanding literary feat. It’s not even the kind of thing I envisaged myself writing a year ago when I decided to start taking this writing malarkey seriously. I always thought the first book I wrote would be a novel, almost certainly a Regency romance, which is what I’ve been brought up on. It turns out, my very first book is a children’s picture book featuring dragons. And it may never be accepted by a publisher, I don’t know. The thing is, I have an achievement – I have written a story and I am very proud of that fact alone. It’s a real story, with characters and a beginning, middle and end. There are a couple of minor tweaks I need to do but on the whole I am very happy.

And the biggest lesson for me in this is to take hold of lightning bolts that appear to strike from nowhere, however unlikely.

I didn’t set out to write a children’s book. It was probably the furthest thing from my mind to be honest. But this character has been sitting, twiddling his thumbs, in my head for a few months. Then he acquired a setting, but still no story, and busied himself until I could decide what to do with him. Then bam, in a lightning bolt out of nowhere, he starts talking to me. I guess he got fed up of waiting. And now I have 24 pages of picture book, waiting for me to finish editing and fiddling and send them away with everything crossed for luck.

It took some nerves to confess to my family that I was writing – it feels to me like a huge step, I don’t know why. Maybe because up until now I haven’t had anything I’ve been really proud of. But their reaction when they read it was the moment I have been waiting for for ages, maybe even years.

Oh, and by the way, I was wrong. Taking hold of lightning bolts is the second biggest lesson for me in this. The first is to remember how much fun it was. It was hard, getting the language the way I wanted it, asking my friends to test drive it on their children and waiting to hear their reaction. It was probably the hardest 500 words I’ve ever written. Trying to make sure that every word delivers the picture I see in my head, and that every line is entertaining. I think I’ve managed it, although I will probably always have some doubts. But, I can’t say it enough, it was fun. Entering the world of my characters, playing around with words to find ones that are musical and rhythmical, thinking of what my son would like to hear and how I could deliver it – that was magical, and has opened up whole, hereto-unconsidered world of possibilities for me. I’ve already got another little character whispering that she wants a turn at being a story.

I shall be updating regularly with progress, and when I’m a multi-millionaire just remember – you saw it here first.

12 thoughts on “Lightning Bolts and Dragons”

  1. Congratulations Rebecca. That’s wonderful. And it seems to me like you have taken the first and most important step at being a writer – by writing something you are proud of. I do hope you get it published – so that I can indeed say I heard about it here first. But you know what… that baby girl will be sure to love it in years to come!! As will you other little man no doubt! Congratulations Writer!

  2. Thank you! It’s an achievement I wasn’t sure I would make – after many, MANY unfinished projects! It is an amazing feeling, and if nothing ever comes of it I will still always know that I finished something and that I was proud of it.

  3. Put me down for a preorder rebecca! What are you doing about the pictures? Publisher contract work, yourself or you bringing someone in to do it?

  4. Hold on while I take your card details…okey doke I’m back! 😉

    Illustrations will very much depend on the book being accepted. From the homework I’ve done publishers prefer to work with their own illustrators, so obviously if I am accepted I will very humbly follow their advice. If it doesn’t, I still want to do a couple of copies self-published for friends and family (and posterity!) so then I will look around for someone to do it for me. I could do it myself, but I’d be better off getting the kids to do it!

  5. Congratulations. This is the moment I’m most looking forward to – getting a book finished! I totally understand your pride around it. And I think it is those characters that won’t leave us alone that, when given their airing, bring us the greatest success.

    Good luck with the next step but enjoy this one!

  6. Hi Becca!

    Congratulations. Well done on getting the book written. That, in and of itself, is an achievement. I know you know that, but it’s worth pointing out again. 🙂

    I look forward to seeing your book on the shelves of my local book-store.


  7. Let’s hope! I’m keeping everything crossed anyway, my husband’s early retirement depends on this multi-million pound book deal! 😉

  8. Well, as one of the privileged few to have read it so far, I can honestly say that it is brilliant! I really think it could be the next Gruffalo.

    Well done Becca. 🙂

  9. You’re lovely! Thank you so much, I will send you a signed, limited edition copy. Once I get that little kink ironed out…

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