I decided that 2013 was going to be the year. This was the year that I would take writing seriously and get some real work done. Again and again I hear it said that to be a better writer you need to be a better reader. So I made the dual commitment to read and write as much as I could. When I heard about the 1 City 1 Book initiative and that Dublin’s chosen book was Strumpet City, I added that book to the list.
Around the same time I signed up for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge where you blog through the alphabet during the month of April – one letter each day (with Sundays off). At first I thought I’d do a random selection of short stories and make an effort to ‘beef up’ my fiction blog. Then after a story telling workshop with Catherine Brophy, I had an idea…. I’d been working on a character called Lizzy. She was loosely based on some childhood memories and I was just writing stories about her to see if there might be a book in her; or in me. During the workshop, Catherine asked us to tell the same story in 3 different ways and one of those ways was to change it to the first person.
I applied this to Lizzy and suddenly she was real. In fact she became so real that I half expected to wake up some mornings and find that she had already written that day’s AtoZ post herself.
April was also the month for 1 City 1 Book, so as I was writing about Lizzy I was also reading Strumpet City. I learned so much from James Plunkett’s characters and as I’m sure most folk do, I developed a real soft spot for Rashers Tierney. I don’t know why I feel there is a connection between Rashers and Lizzy. A poor old man with not much more than a tin whistle and a dog for company and a little girl, the youngest of a large family. It doesn’t quite fit. But there is a vulnerability in Rashers that I think Lizzy feels as well. Rashers has such an unvarnished view of his world. He sees significance in the simplest of gestures, and the importance of the most meager of possessions. I’d love to think that Lizzy will grow up to be a bit like him.
April was a great month! I really benefited from reading and writing together. I connected with bloggers from all over the world, many of whom were kind enough to drop by regularly to see how Lizzy was progressing. There was a small band of Irish bloggers doing it and we kept each other going when it got a bit tough. We all appreciated Derek Flynn’s encouragement and shouts out on Twitter along the way.
The experience has also given me the courage to explore further the idea of Lizzy as a book. I’ve only been writing fiction for about a year, but this is it, I’m really going to do it. There are a number of people who’ve helped me get to this stage, but top of the list are the bould Rashers Tierney and Lizzy Redmond herself. I’m almost done reading about Rashers but Lizzy is just getting started…
If you’d like to read some of Lizzy’s AtoZ posts go to www.ficticiousamo.wordpress.com and look in the ‘AtoZ ‘or ‘Lizzy’ category.