The more I write, the more I realise that there is one key element that must be there if a novel is going to work. It’s the one thing I cannot do without, the one thing that propels and motivates me to write, and the one thing I’ve eventually found with every one of the books that I have written. If it wasn’t there, I would stop.
Yes, I think a strong story is important, yes, I think that weaving setting description is important for me, as is working hard to write beautiful prose. But if one element is missing, then the work has no life, and I just can’t write it. I’ve learned that.
Sometimes, when I’m contracted to write a novel, when I’ve brainstormed it with my agent and my editor, it can still take a while to find that element when I begin working on the first draft. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen straight away, and I’m plodding along through a field thick with mud rather than flying, floating, in the way everyone wants to when it comes to writing your own book- it’s why we write, for the sheer, joyous love of it. It’s what motivates us- it’s the exact same thing I need when I’m reading a book.
It’s the emotional connection that I’m talking about, that feeling that you are so close to your characters that you can see and feel everything that they do. It’s hard to describe, but I have that gut reaction when I’m writing. I’m not dispassionate. I guess, the thing is- I care. It’s instinctive, not something anyone can teach me to do.
When it came to THE THINGS WE DON’T SAY, I felt such a connection to Emma, whose relationship with the man she adored all her adult life was pulled into question, right at the end of her life. What if she died not knowing the truth about Patrick? And as for her grand-daughter, Laura, it was easy for me to be able to relate to her quest to save her passion for the one thing she loved in her life - playing music. As writers, when that creative part of you, or the opportunity to create is put into jeopardy, you can imagine how distressing it can be.
Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of four novels published in the US- Paris Time Capsule, The House by the Lake, From a Paris Balcony and Secret Shores. The books are published in twelve countries, in ten languages and Secret Shores has been shortlisted for an ARRA award in 2018. Ella has degrees in music, majoring in classical piano, and in Arts majoring in nineteenth century women’s fiction and modern European history. Ella's fifth novel, The Things We Don't Say, is set for release in the UK, Australia and the US on July 1st, 2018. Ella is working hard on her sixth novel. She writes full time. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian Greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.
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The Things We Don’t Say
A beguiling painting holds the secrets of a woman’s past and calls into question everything she thought she knew about the man she loved…
Near sixty years ago, renowned London artist Patrick Adams painted his most famous work: a portrait of his beloved Emma Temple, a fellow bohemian with whom he shared his life. Years after Patrick’s death, ninety-year-old Emma still has the painting hanging over her bed at their country home as a testament to their love.
To Emma’s granddaughter, Laura, the portrait is also a symbol of so much to come. The masterpiece is serving as collateral to pay Laura’s tuition at a prestigious music school. Then the impossible happens when an appraiser claims the painting is a fraud. For Laura, the accusation jeopardizes her future. For Emma, it casts doubt on everything she believed about her relationship with Patrick. Laura is determined to prove that Patrick did indeed paint the portrait. Both her grandmother’s and Patrick’s legacies are worth fighting for.
As the stories of two women entwine, it’s time for Emma to summon up the past—even at the risk of revealing its unspoken secrets.
I agree. That emotional connection is such an important element when creating a story.
I know I get cranky gets in the way of my creative pursuits.
How about you? Anyone else get cranky without their writing time?