So, having established more or less where and when my story was going to take place, I needed to think about the characters.  Most writers draw on inspiration from people they’ve known and then change them so they won’t be recognised ( or sued!).  In my case, I decided to make the heroine a younger, taller, slimmer version of me.  In other words nothing like me at all . I needed some conflict so decided  she would be married to an urbane swine who treated her badly but whom she loved deeply.  The  conflict would come when she runs away to Greece and falls in love with the hotel owner.  He would be an older, wiser type of figure but with a tragic secret.  At this point i didn’t have much idea of plot, I was just throwing some ideas around in my imagination.  I decided to put the characters into the setting and just see what happened.  Being a word person though, I had a big problem with choosing names for my characters.  As a teacher, most names have a memory or  a significance and the names had to be right.  I think I probably spent too long agonising over this and should just have taken the bull by the horns,  but for me the name defines the person.  As it turned out , the characters underwent several name changes during the writing process, which showed me that it’s always possible to adapt as you go along.  The main thing I learned was that it’s important to just write.  No more stalling, finding excuses, making endless cups of coffee and wasting hours tweeting, just get out there and write –  and I learned that it doesn’t matter if you don’t write  the perfect novel on day one – the main point is that you’ve started and can now call yourself a writer.

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