How do you begin?

DSCF5213My nephews have toys all over the floor and I hear Sam say to Bevis, ‘Just pretend that I’m up the tower and…’

He didn’t say, let’s pretend, he said ‘just’.  There was no gap between reality and make-believe.  He was standing on the top of the lego tower being threatened by the giant plastic dinosaur and he was working out his action strategy.

On one level, it is that simple, that we ‘just pretend’ when we write stories.  Not only with straight-forward fiction, those of us using our lives as inspiration for stories need to hold onto that thought too, and learn to lie, convincingly.

Why not give it a go now?

Think back to childhood.

Who was your favourite relative?

Write a short description of them.

Now think: what did they do that made them special?  It doesn’t have to be anything fantastic, or exciting.  But try to visualise one event, in detail.  Find the starting point for the story.

Now change one thing – try gender – aunt becomes uncle or vice versa.  Describe them, and let go of the remembered truth.  Let the story follow, naturally.

Because sometimes a lie makes the best truth.

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