Book Writing Writer

Sunday, 28 July 2013

How It All Began

This is the tale of how a short story of no more than 250 words ended up as a book entitled "Old Age and Villainy".

The local council in the area in which I used to live had a competition for seniors on how they saw and coped with aging.  I spotted the notice in my local council library and grabbed an entry form intending to look through it properly when I reached home.  However, it languished (along with other miscellany) in my handbag for about a week until one day, while looking for something else...well, it was the obvious place to start...I discovered it again.  Whatever I was looking for was forgotten as I realised the due date for entries to be submitted was only a couple of days away.

Dashing to the computer and firing it up, I sat down to start my masterpiece...and my mind was a total blank!  That'd be right, I thought crossly to myself, try to write something and the muse is asleep...hmmpf!  Disgusted I mooched out into the kitchen and switched the jug on to make a cup of coffee.  While waiting for the water to boil, spooning coffee into the Bodum and generally faffing about, a germ of an idea sprouted in the desert that was my brain.  I deliberately let my mind go blank to enable the idea to grow.  As it did so, I poured a mug of coffee...all very slow and deliberate; I didn't want the sprout to wither away...and made my way back to the computer.

Sitting down, I took a sip of steaming coffee then started typing.  Soon the words flowed, ideas flashed through; some were discarded, some were kept and slotted into the writing.  When I finished, I had far too many words, but that was okay.  I didn't mind cutting it down.

I read it through, ruthlessly chopping whole sections out, changing a phrase, a word, correcting a typo or a grammatical error, read it through again then saved it and let it simmer until the next day.

By the next day, however, the deadline for submission was midday and it was already 9 am.  I read the story through again, added one or two improvements then decided I couldn't do any more to it. After filling in my details on the entry form, I emailed both entry and story through to the address provided and relaxed.

It was in the lap of the Universe now and I did my best to put it out of my mind and get on with life.  I succeeded so well that a week later I had a phone call and wondered what the person on the other end was going on about.  Suddenly it clicked.  It was about the seniors' short story competition and...I had won!  I was advised there would be a formal presentation at the council entertainment centre a week from that date and I would be presented with my prize.

So that was the start of "Old Age and Villainy", although I had originally called it "Growing Older Disgracefully".  The book title of "Old Age and Villainy" came from an elderly friend who, if anyone did something a bit silly, used to comment that it was because of old age and villainy.  I loved the phrase and asked him if he would mind if I used as the title of my book.  He graciously gave his consent and I intend to acknowledge that when the book is finally published.

It's not a self help book...far from it.  I guess it could be called a memoir of the times where members of my family, including me and my nonagenarian mother, friends and other suspects have caused confusion, mayhem and general consternation in the course of going about their lives.

I've had a lot of fun writing it and now want to share the journey of getting it published with you.  Keep an eye out for the next step of "Old Age and Villainy"!


  1. I wish you all the best with your book, Robyn. Good on you.! :)

  2. Thank you, Lee. I'm glad I'm no longer working. There's no way I'd have time to tweet, blog and FB to "get it out there".

  3. Just catching up. Well done!

  4. Thank you, Liz. Congratulations on your third book x


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