“Experiences of a First-Time Novelist”

By Paul Grainger

Since embarking on my first novel in August 2001, I am now at the final stage: typing it up. They say there is a book inside everyone and I’ve had a thoroughly enjoyable time bringing mine to fruition. I derived much pleasure from creating the settings and, most of all, the characters – giving them each their own personality and mannerisms. In my mind they all have faces with individual characteristics and I found that during the writing process I was totally absorbed in the story I was telling: I’d entered another world.

To be able to convey this world to the reader, I needed to make my characters plausible. Regardless of the main plot I think that readers need to know the small intricate details of the characters and, with my help, get into their minds – what their ambitions are, if they are of a jealous nature etc. In my story I was dealing with both the living and the dead, and at times I found myself grieving for the latter – as if I’d lost personal friends. I consider the book an inspiration, I don’t know where it came from but it has been so easy to write and am never bored with re-reading it. During periods of proof reading I still pause in wonderment and think: “Did I really write that?”.

The book has a literary style, which I find came naturally. I think this is because I am reflecting, consciously or not whilst writing it, my personal taste in reading material. No matter how many times I read through the story it still engages me. I’ve got quite a following now of eager readers now, who keep requesting more bits of the book to read. Paradoxically, this makes me feel very protective towards it and I am quite loath, in a sense, to send it out for fear of rejection. However, the positive feedback I’ve had from fellow-members of the writing group I attend causes me to feel confident that, with perseverance, I will be able to get it published.

The only advice I could give anyone who is in the process of writing a novel is this: if you’re not enjoying it, or it becomes a chore, then don’t do it. My book may not see the light of day on the shelves of Waterstones or WH.Smith but then on the other hand I could be the next William Boyd – who knows? It’s been a long slog and I’ve valued the learning experience. But it’s the satisfaction of having completed it that means the most to me.

Paul Grainger
Copyright 2004


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