What book do you wish you’d written?

I find myself with only four days before I fly – perhaps even less than that – in four days I will be in Malaga!  Am I prepared?  I think so.

My outline is good,  as is the synopsis.  I feel happy about handing that over – in a learning environment!  My character storylines are a bit more wooly, but they connect to each other as they should.  I’ve worked hard over the last four weeks.

I’ve written two short-stories recently, both with competitions in mind. One has already been uploaded and I think that it’s nicely polished.  The other one, after days of lying with my head on my desk trying to make the concept work, has been written and edited twice.  It will get one more go tomorrow.  Ideally I’d put it down for a couple of weeks, but that can’t happen by the time I fly out.  It’ll be dusted, but not polished.

I’ve been looking through the programme again (and getting more excited, and more nervous in equal measure!) and I noticed an invitation to bring work to share.  I may share my own (depends how much of a do-something-that-scares-you day I’m having) but I’ve enjoyed thinking about extracts to share.  Writing that I think stands up to being celebrated.  The poem is easy.  Thomas Lynch’s Maura.  I just love this poem – its quiet statements about grieving and the insights into Maura.  Finding prose has been more tricky.  So much to choose from.  I flicked through a few books that I have loved, but nothing encapsulated writing that makes me gasp, in a paragraph or two.  That got me thinking about what book do I wish I’d written, and why (always the analyst/auditor).  I actually have a few, but the first one that came to mind was Philip Pullman’s trilogy, His Dark Materials.  Why?  Because it reaches a wide audience (children and adults alike), the concept is incredible, the themes are immense, it’s a gripping story, and, for most people the debate about what daemon you’d have rumbled on and on.  I’m not sure that I could ever create anything so fantastical, and I envy Pullman that.

It didn’t get me very much further in my quest for prose at one level, but in opening up my mind for great stories, I thought about some of the short stories I’ve read over the last year, and I have a piece of prose that makes my heart sing.  It’s so glorious.  Commonwealth Writers Prize winner 2013, Eliza Robertson.  Her opening paragraph is like liquid chocolate.

All that remains now is for me to get busy with the printer, get the duster out on the short story and pack.  It’s the first time that I’ll have recruited my truly creative self for such an intense experience.  Now it’s here, I really can’t wait.