It is with some trepidation that I have an announcement to make: I am not going to do an online course.

I know, shocking, but there it is.

I had the option, stretching out, all whimsical and sunlit, of studying creative writing but (and I don’t like myself for saying this) I think it would kill whatever voice I already have.

I’m fully aware that this might come across as arrogance, and perhaps that’s what it is, but I don’t really want to read textbooks on how to write a novel.

I am all for reading and of every kind.
I have no issue with literary fiction, no matter how floral, I am devoted to thrillers and mysteries, I like a bit of horror, I live for the hours upon hours of epics and trilogies. I love books.

However, whatever my instinct might tell me about the story I am endeavouring to birth, I don’t want to learn about throwing in a plot twist in chapter three, or adding a love interest or a triangle somewhere around the middle.

If I have a story in me (and I suppose this goes for you too, although I’d take any advice I give with something larger than a pinch of salt, maybe a shovelful), surely I’m the one to tell it. And nobody else will have my voice, or my take on the events, because nobody else is me. I don’t want my story to become samey because I’ve killed the sparkle.

Perhaps I will be endowing my editor with a Herculean task, of unknotting the contents of my brain, but I hope he or she will just tell me if chapter five needs work, or if I am more ‘telling’ than ‘showing’, if a character doesn’t quite ring true.

I don’t intend to blandify my creatures by structuring them in a properly prescribed manner. I don’t wish to plan out every scene. I want to find out what happens just like everybody else.

The course I had been planning on was going to cover several genres, not just textbooks but not without textbooks, and included a decent number of American novelists who are either out of print in this country or can only be shipped from the States, thereby limiting what time I have to read and analyse them, and get my essays in.

As much as a great amount of my time belongs to me, I am not alone. I have Aimée and the dogs, none of whom can be expected to just sit there while I tear my hair out.

Besides all else, I am quite easily influenced.

For example, we have given our dogs voices. Now, I know, you’re wondering if I’ve lost my mind. That ship sailed quite some time ago, but if anything, we use the dog voices to tell each other to do the washing up or get off the sofa.

Tara, as it happens, sounds very much like Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh. Doobie sounds like a pervert with a head cold. Poppy sounds like a teenage boy, and Pumpkin is more like a wide-eyed ingénue, although they basically sound the same.

Once, Aimée put on Doobie’s voice and joked that I should go out for a cigarette.

Out I went.

So, if I have someone lecturing me from the page to change my slant and adjust my expectation, I probably will.

Well, I’m not having that. Deluded I may be, but this book is mine.