I had a go at writing a book once. I was on holiday in Venice, and one morning while having breakfast on the balcony of the hotel overlooking the Lido, a one-legged seagull landed on the wall next to where I was sitting and started eyeing up my breakfast – it probably did so every morning to beg from unwitting tourists, or maybe even stealing scraps from their plates, I wouldn’t know. Anyway, it got me thinking of how he lost his leg in the first place and how he managed (I am assuming it was a ‘he’) or was he born like it.
The bones of a story began to form in my mind, and I was eager to return home and let the creative juices flow to weave a story round this poor creature. I imagined it being born like that, being bullied in the nest by fitter siblings, getting tossed out of the nest by impatient parents, who wanted to move on with their merry lives, not being stuck on a rocky wall feeding an adult child who wasn’t brave enough to launch himself into space to fend for himself.
I named him Lido, as a nod to where he originated, and a story did evolve whereby he finally took off, met a cat, had his leg repaired (with a piece of stick and the offcuts of a rubber glove for his foot!) by a kindly farmer, and lived happily ever after.
But here’s the big but… it took me ages and ages, and my final piece was as long-winded as War and Peace, and although I got a lot right, it wasn’t right as a children’s story (well, who else would be interested in the life of a disabled seagull for heavens’ sake!).
There was so much I didn’t know about creative writing – it also needed good drawings to illustrate my storyline, and I hadn’t got a clue where to find someone. I looked online, and found headings such as ‘How to Write a Story in 15 Ludicrously Easy Steps’, and fulfilling stories of how successful would-be authors slave away for months and produce a best selling book.
So next time you pick up a book, or download something to your Kindle, spare a thought for the author, who had an idea, worked at it, and made their dream of being a writer finally come true. Who knows – I might dig out my old manuscript and have another go!