If there is one area where struggling-to-be-noticed writers have the advantage over those who’ve been published since they were barely out of school, it’s our inside knowledge of the world of work. Coming to writing later in life, or merely being part of the majority unable to support themselves through writing, we have the experience to bring our characters’ jobs alive. But there can still be challenges in taking our characters to work.
For example, while setting your novel in your current workplace obviates the need for a research trip, you might have to smooth some colleagues’ ruffled feathers once the book is out in the world. From another angle, if you’ve gained your work experience in settings crowded with colleagues, you face the challenge of rendering it authentically without overwhelming the reader with an overabundance of characters.
I wouldn’t blame you if the opening has put you off my most recently published short story (or the length at over 3000 words) but, if you do choose to read it, you might be able to help me decide where, if anywhere, to take these ideas next.
When teenagers flee the family home to fend for themselves, they swap one kind of brutality for another. And while their troubled lives will have forced them to develop survival skills in some areas, they are often more vulnerable than their peers in others, such as emotional literacy. But real-life tragedy can make engrossing fiction as you’ll find if you let the young narrators of these two novels lead you into the wilderness: Jaxie in Western Australia and Sal and her younger sister in Scotland. For real-life youth homelessness, mostly in urban areas, Centrepoint (in the UK) is worth supporting.
No prizes for guessing why I’ve connected these two novels; I don’t think I’ve ever read another book with gravity in the title – although The Weightless World is about a antigravity machine – and then I find two published in the same month. But rest assured, they’re very different reads: in the first, Lotte feels a stronger pull towards the stars in the sky than her earthly attachments; in the second, love is a force that can furnish reconnections across continents and years.
Allow me to introduce you to two novels looking back on Ireland’s recent history through the eyes of a man whose life has been limited by secrets, subterfuge and hypocrisy.
Annecdotal is where real life brushes up against the fictional.
Annecdotist is the blogging persona of Anne Goodwin:
slug-slayer, tramper of moors,
author of two novels.
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