ShortbreadStories: The Blog

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Donkeyness

/by Angela Dyer/

Hello, I haven’t made an appearance on Shortbread Stories for a while as I have been preoccupied writing a book, non-fiction. But now it is out in the world, for good or ill, and I am back in the world (ditto), so Fiona has asked me to write a few words about the difference between writing fiction and non-fiction.

If pressed to put it in one word I would say that word is imagination. The other necessary components – the idea, putting it into words, getting them on paper (or keyboard) and then paring them down, feeling stuck, sleepless nights, pre-print nerves – are all sickeningly familiar, whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction. For both, observation is key, as is letting ideas simmer and evolve, allowing the pace to dictate itself. (My biggest Shortbread flop – I won’t say which one – was a story I dashed off in a fit of over-confidence and have regretted ever since.)

But without imagination fiction is a poor lifeless thing, stifled before birth. And I don’t just mean the ability to imagine oneself on a beach in the Bahamas or driving a Lamborghini, but that quirk, that leap, that tantalising twist or sudden spark which those of us who lack it know, sadly, we could never come up with though we sat at the computer trying for a hundred years . . . So for me, back to non-fiction. But to you, good luck, maybe you have it.

Angela Dyer has just published her non-fiction book Donkeyness, which is available to buy on Amazon. 

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