I said yes, in that I'd thought of shifting ground slightly, and I have a non-fiction book idea lurking around my mind, but essentially what I write is what I write. 'There's no point writing anything that doesn't come from the heart."
She agreed with me. Books had to come from the heart. She added that often she didn't know what she was writing about until well after she'd finished writing the story. Sometimes, she'd even had to have what the book had really been about explained to her by an outsider.
I nodded in agreement. I can now see patterns in my books - themes, concerns, reactions - that are about me, the writer, but there is no way I realised they were there at the time of writing. It sounds weird, but I suppose it's to be expected if you write from the heart.
Alan Bennett, in Writing Home, says this: "One seldom sits down knowing exactly what one wants to say, the knowing very often coming out of the saying. 'One draws,' says Lichtenberg, 'from the well of language many a thought one does not have.' A writer does not always know what he or she knows, and writing is a way of finding out."
I see it with students. They start with fixed ideas about what they're going to write, and then surprise themselves with what emerges on the page. Write from the heart, not the head, and surprise yourself - and that'll be worth reading.
NEW!!! I've finally got round to organising some course dates....
How to WRITE a Novel: London 3rd May/Birmingham 7th May/
Oxford 8th May/Exeter 21st May/Bath 12th June
How to SELL a Novel: London 24th May/Exeter 4th June/
Bath 3rd July Details are on my website