Everyone has a book in them….?



Everybody does have a book in them, but in most cases, that’s where it should stay.

Christopher Hitchens 

Do you agree with that statement? I don’t. That quote inspired me to complete my first novel The Cry of the Loon as I had something I wanted to say.

Many of you may want to quit your jobs and write full time but for many reasons, this is not possible. Often the barriers are that you don’t think your work will be good enough or that what you have to say isn’t important.

I was having a drink with a friend recently and we talked about writing and he mentioned that years ago he had written a novel. ‘Great’. I said ‘Why don’t you let me take a look at it’. It was then he said something surprising. ‘I don’t think I have anything to say.’ This is an intelligent guy who has many experiences that would easily help him to develop great stories.

The American children’s television host Mr Rogers always carried in his wallet a quote from a social worker that said, ‘Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.’ This where I disagree with Christopher Hitchens. Everyone has a story to tell and no matter what genre you are writing in, the story and the characters are what draws people in. There are no bad stories just bad storytellers.

Having something we want to say drives us to want to write.

I came to a point in my life where working with words was what I wanted to do, so editing and writing full time is the best thing I have done in years. Why? I loved teaching drama and working with young people but all the time I was never in control of my life. I had to take holidays when the school was closed, mark work at home, prepare lessons and even work at weekends all of which I wasn’t paid for. It is accepted that as a teacher it’s what you do. Now everything I do is for my family and on our terms. What I invest in time, money and effort is rewarded with freedom to control when and how I work.

All that sounds appealing doesn’t it but what can you do?


The opportunity for independent authors to get their story out into the  world and into the hands of readers has never been better. This is where I help authors fine-tune their work and make them better writers.

How do you know if you have a great story or something to tell people?

Personal experience, a strong belief in something or a real story in the media are ideal places to start. Here are two examples of this.

Here are two examples of this.

Gaby Gillespie had a harrowing childhood where she was sold by her father as a child bride but as an adult, she has used that experience to write a book and campaigns on the issue of child brides.

The campaign by native peoples at Standing Rock in North Dakota is an ideal example of a real story that could inspire a novel about indigenous rights, the power of big business and the state. I used a similar event for the backstory for one of my characters in the Cry of the Loon.

So everyone does have a book in them?

Just find your story, use your voice and tell the world.

If you are struggling to know how to develop characters I am developing a course which could be just your thing. Follow me on Twitter/ Facebook or sign up for my weekly email ‘Tips from the Mechanics Toolbox’ which will keep you up to date with the course and all my latest character development advice.



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