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Eat steak every week and you can write a novel

The BBWF blogger signed up for Colin Bowles’s What a Great Idea workshop today keenly seeking tips for completing her own two novels. Bowles started by saying we are our own best teachers. He likened the process of writing a novel to eating an entire cow. If we think of the whole cow it is daunting but if we have a steak every week it’s manageable. I’ll leave it to creative vegetarians to come up with their own analogy.

Prolific is the first word that comes to mind about Bowles. With 37 books written under three different names and a passion for storytelling, Bowles lives what many of us dream. He makes a living from his pen. He is best known as Colin Falconer for his historical fiction.

The emotional connection to the story is key, says Bowles. Lose it, and you will lose your way. Without that, an idea will only ever be an idea. Characters must learn something about themselves along the way, and they must always own the story, he says. The drama is in the character’s conflicts both within and on the exterior.

Bowles is all for putting as much of your own conflicts into stories as possible. He did so in his novel The Naked Husband published under his Mark D’Arbanville pen name. This is his own story released from the contraints of non-fiction written in response to a deeply traumatic time in his life and never intended for publication.

What tip did the BBWF blogger take home from the workshop? To go home and finish one of her novels. The reason it feels difficult is because it is. In writing and rewriting the first book until it is as good as can be, Bowles says I will learn all I ever need about writing novels.

Marian Edmunds


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