DO YOU LOVE WRITING?
By KLS Fuerte
Author of “Never Saw You Coming”
The early days of writing
It started from a very young age, in the classroom, far away in the Caribbean, in Guadeloupe. I loved the Saturday morning lessons because we finished school at lunchtime, but before that, it was show time! Our teacher would ask us to write a story, she gave us a different theme every week. What stayed with me is the memory of the joy I felt when I could write freely, express myself with no restrictions nor rules and just write what my young imagination would whisper to me. Then, my wonderful teacher, would ask who wanted to read out their stories, I was always eager to share mine aloud and proud. The class would then secretly vote for their favourite story of the day. I often won, that was my show time! I’d run back home to tell granny and she’d be so happy for me… The joy of sharing my writing never left me!
We all have stories to tell
What I am trying to tell you by going back in time is simple: “we all have stories to tell”, and we all love sharing them, so why not writing them? It is in all of us because when we share our stories with our loved ones, friends and family, we feel an immense joy at being listened to, whether they are sad or happy stories. Having a voice and capturing this voice to be read would take us to another level of happiness.
Follow your dream and intuition
Life took me to so many different journeys, meeting people, in all sorts of places. Not all my experiences were positive, it is only with maturity that I can now see them as lessons. What is certain, is that those life stories shaped me. From my teenage diaries, to my university essays, writing has always been in my blood. I knew that I wanted to be a “writer” one day, but I did not know when, nor how. This childhood dream of mine never went away.
I would say that following my intuition or yearning to write was an important part of the process. I had a thirst to quench, and the need grew bigger and bigger overtime, until I satisfied it, until I wrote it out! I needed the words to come out of my head onto the paper. What I am saying to you is that following your dream is so crucial to feel whole as person, happy with yourself and with who you are.
Write about what makes you feel good
My life experiences inspired me, but as I started to write about them, I felt no joy, it was actually distressing. Why would I put myself through something that was not fulfilling me, or that was causing me pain? So I stopped, for many years! I knew I had to write, but what, when? That was the question.
As the years went by, I kept thinking about all these stories, experiences in my head which could be told as a novel, short stories or romance. The challenge was to make a start. Take the reality and rewrite it into something that was much more passionate and juicier than the real deal.
I started to have some fun creating characters, moulding them from what I knew but exaggerating their features, traits and qualities. I let my imagination describe them and place them on opposite spectrums, where there was goodness, evil had to be present too. Thus, I created a world, which seemed so real, but was fictional. This became very exciting, the more I wrote the more I had to say. It was liberating.
Being inspired by the world around
The inspiration kept flowing from conversations, observations, readings. I opened the doors into the unknown of emotions and fears. A little note book is always with me, and I will make a few notes whilst travelling on the tube or watching a new advert on the underground. Images, colours and people can all be materials for writing. Be prepared to open your eyes and notice what seems so mundane, because it can become a little gem that could illuminate your writing later.
I remember searching and reading a lot about mental health and depression because my characters have troubled minds. I knew I wanted the readers to feel their pains and joys, to hear them talk, breath, shout and scream. The characters had to feel real. Research was important to give me the tools to understand how the characters could evolve with their flows, ups and downs. Opening my eyes and diving into new places to comprehend what it felt like to live and deal with dangerous, life threatening situations helped me to build the tension and unpredictability of the characters.
The writing flow
That part I struggle with, because of the challenges of daily life, I am not disciplined enough to shut myself out in the middle of a crowd. It is, at times, totally impossible to sit and write as I would like to. Home life gets in the way. I would love to be able to write a little every day, but that is difficult. I have found a way around this challenge and it works for me: I quit the daily life and isolate myself somewhere in a small cottage, or a small hotel for a few days. By going away and leaving family behind, they are old enough to cope without me, I can focus on just me and my books. No distractions will take me out of the room. On my writing retreats, I feel totally free to explore and try different paths in the stories.
I do not get satisfied with every paragraph I write. I very often must go back to the very beginning to check if it makes sense. Do the words convey the emotions, the fears, the pains, the happiness, the tension or the suspense I intend to create? Sometimes they do, other times they do not. So, I will start again, read aloud to myself. If I like the sound of what I read, then I will continue, but if I do not, I must redraft and write better. It is important to be able to say to myself “Kiki, that is nonsense! Rewrite it. This sentence is not clear at all, what did you mean?” If I cannot understand myself, how can my readers understand me? If I do not love what I write, how can others do? I love those writing retreats and cannot wait for my next one to keep writing the sequel to “Never Saw You Coming”.
The free spirit
Writing fiction gives me wings and freedom. I love it! It is an amazing feeling to have ideas and words moving from your mind to your page and making you feel good and excited. I do not do well with restrictions, that is the same in real life. I am totally unable to follow the Ikea instructions templates, or a recipe book; I’d rather create by simply looking at the photos of the dish. That is much more fun and exhilarating. I would say “let yourself be” and write. Not everyone will enjoy what you write, but that’s fine. We need all sorts to make the world go around. As long as you are happy with yourself, that is the main core point from which you can grow.
The pains and rejections
When I was looking for literary agents to get published, that was a painful journey! I sent samples of my book to many agents. Some would respond telling me that this is not the genre they work with, or others would completely ignore me. That was disheartening at times, when all I wanted was sharing stories and entertain the world with them. Then one day, a publisher from New York phoned me and showed interest in my book. I could not believe it, I was so thrilled! At last, I was going to be a published author. He was ready to work with me from conception to the finished product, a beautiful book. Our discussions led to a contract I had to sign. I did. I also paid the fees to be published with them. And they disappeared! That was a hard lesson! Yet it did not stop me. I had to publish my book, but I knew what to look for and what to avoid. Well, I hope I know a little more than when I first started. It is important to keep the dream alive and move on from the pains and rejections.
My biggest wish
To entertain my readers, probably mostly women who can identify with the characters, especially Beatrice. She is young, hopeful and desperately romantic, but also naïve, though very bright. One day, “Never Saw You Coming” will make it to the big screen! There is a long way to go, I know, but the dream is there, and I’ll make it happen!