Know your sandwich

One of life’s most challenging tasks is discovering who you are as a person. What are your likes, dislikes, talents, beliefs and so on.

When I was 26 I remember deciding that I liked olives. It came as quite a shock to me that I liked these little black and green fruits, because for the previous 26 years I had actively avoided them. They are definitely an acquired taste. This week I had a similar conversation about Marmite sandwiches with one of my friends (she loves the stuff??) British people seem to be obsessed with sandwiches. If they disappeared, what would we all eat for lunch?

When I am writing, I find that I intrinsically know all sorts of fundamental information about my characters. When I create these fictional people I know what they look like and how they think. I know their past and their future and how they will respond in most situations. I know as much as I can about them before I start.

In my previous existence working in communications and PR, I was lucky enough to be contacted by the bestselling novelist, Lesley Pearse. She phoned me when she was looking for some information to help her research her latest book. I used the opportunity to ask her how she develops her stories. She told me that she focuses on her characters and then puts them into different situations, watching their reactions.

I would describe it as exactly like watching a home movie playing in your head. I watch my characters as they confront the confusing situations that I have created. I push them to their limits and watch as they discover more about themselves. In the chapter I am currently writing, my male lead character is soon to find out the true reason behind his father’s and sister’s deaths. I am very curious to watch his reaction.

Walking in someone else’s shoes is a very absorbing and useful way to empathise with others. It also helps me understand my own reactions to many things.

So, this week, while on my ongoing voyage of self-discovery, I reached a crucial decision. My favourite sandwich is cheese and onion.

 

S

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Fly me to the moon

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” The words of John F Kennedy during his speech at Rice University in 1962.

This man clearly knew what he was talking about. Achieving difficult things can bring the greatest rewards, but they require a level of sustained effort that is sometimes exhausting.

If something is difficult to achieve, it is all too tempting to give up and admit defeat. Trying to succeed at anything creative can be particularly difficult because the audience is subjective.

Recently, the author JK Rowling spoke again about the number of rejections she received from publishers before finally gaining success. This gives me hope.

By completing a book which has been well received by friends and family, I succeeded in achieving my first goal, but now I would like to put it out into the world. So, how do I persevere with something difficult and never give up?

This morning, I was having one of my more in depth thoughts as I stood in the shower. It’s my 42nd birthday in the next couple of weeks and I was reflecting on things that have gone well and things that have not gone well in my life so far. My general conclusion was that success for me nearly always depends on my level of commitment.

I believe that once you have decided what it is you really want to achieve, you have to go for it. I know that if I was starving, my entire focus would be on finding food. I would put all my effort into that without distraction.

I have already learnt that being a butterfly brain and dabbling half-heartedly at lots of different things, never really committing to anything, achieves little.

So my conclusion for this week, while I was washing my hair, is to keep shooting for the moon with even more sustained effort.

 

S

Chapter 1 – Your doppelgänger

If you met yourself in a parallel world, would you like yourself?  Would you trust yourself?

Meeting your identical counterpart in other dimension would surely be the ultimate evaluation.  An extreme appraisal of  your highlights, but also all your worst characteristics.

Just imagine seeing and hearing yourself as others do. From the outside, would you like the way they looked – too fat or thin,  odd clothes, the wrong hair?  When they spoke, would you think them dull or opinionated? Would they say judgemental, ridiculous things or have irritating habits? Would they listen or care about you? In the first five minutes of meeting them, would you want to be their friend?

It’s a scary idea to step outside and really look at yourself isn’t it?

When I am writing, I am cruel. I do this to most of my characters. I force them to meet their doppelgängers.  Some of them become friends, whereas others are immediately suspicious because they know what really goes on behind the eyes and in the thoughts of their counterparts.

Yesterday, I visited Batemans, the home of the internationally famous writer Rudyard Kipling in Sussex, England, who died in 1936. As I looked at the photographs and memorabilia in his house, I saw a man who had achieved so much in one lifetime. I wonder if he thought the same about himself?

We can’t compare ourselves to others because we all have our own individual talents and limitations, but how proud would we be of our doppelgängers?

 

 

 

 

Prologue

Last night I dreamed of cake.

I have never dreamed about cake before, so clearly this has to be a good omen. I mean what’s not good about cake?

Believe me, when you are at a crossroads trying to succeed at something new, dreams about cake easily become secret messages from your sleeping brain telling you that victory is just around the corner. Why is everything around the corner?

To begin my journey into the world of blog, I must explain that this came about because of a genius conversation with my brother. He is a wannabe rock star and I am a wannabe published author. I have written my first book and he has finished his first album as the front man in a London band. We have so much drive and enthusiasm that it is easy to convince each other that we are constantly on the brink of something amazing. To chart our steady climb to unleash our creative potential we agreed to write blogs. He will encourage me to write and vice versa.

So, if you are vaguely interested in what it’s like to write a book and try to get published, or have an insider view of an up-and-coming new band, then look no further. Join us on our travels right here …..and here http://www.themanatthefront.com

S