Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Why a creative writing course could help you


Looking back, my second-biggest disappointment as a small child was being given Avon hand cream for Christmas.

Even though turned five in May the headmaster didn’t let me commence school until September. Each morning I watched my older brothers walking to school, envy and disappointment heavy in my chest. I desperately wanted to read – to make sense of those black squiggles that enabled my mother to recite the same stories at bedtime.

As soon as I learned to read I was obsessed. Not daring to turn my light on, I would creep onto the freezing landing at night to read by the dim light until I could no longer feel my limbs or I was sent back to bed. That Christmas my brothers were given torches and I received girlie hand cream. Why not a torch? I didn’t even have dry hands. With a torch I could snuggle up in bed and create a makeshift tent to read my books undetected.

The obsession with reading grew and any pocket or birthday money went on books. Without a book on the go I am incomplete. When I finish a good novel I lose a companion and after an exceptional book I feel bereft. I’ve read a wide range of authors and most genres. I’ve travelled the world and travelled in time without going through the front door. The e-reader is my favourite invention. I take numerous books on holiday without weighing my case down and read at night without being told to turn the light off.

Losing the sight in my functioning eye from a detached retina was devastating but at least audio books were available to me. Discovering cancer within weeks of eye surgery was a trauma but I survived. With mortality staring me in the face I decided to fulfil long-held ambitions so I signed up for a novel writing course with Writing Magazine to produce my first book.

Suddenly I felt like a teenager who’d finally been given the keys to the car. I was in the driving seat and could decide exactly where the story was going. The journey was exhilarating and it still is. I never thought I’d find a pastime I liked more than reading but writing is now my passion. With the expert guidance of my tutor, Lesley Eames, I learned the craft and finished my first book then spent three months re-writing and editing it.

I gave myself a year to find either an agent or publisher. I had a couple of kind rejections  saying  my writing was strong but it wasn’t what they were looking for but a few weeks later Bloodhound Books requested the whole manuscript then within two days offered me a contract. My debut novel ‘Dying to See You’ is being released on the 25th April and my second novel ‘Who’s There’ will be published in September.

And the biggest disappointment when I was five? Being told my new sibling was yet another brother (sorry Craig!).

By Kerena Swan

Back to "Creative Writing" Category

16/04/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Creative writing: Start strong

Sci-fi and fantasy writer Jeff Vandermeer, Nebula Award winning author of Annihilation, explains how to suck ...

Coffee break exercise: Objects

Use something everyday and close to hand to inspire new creative writing in this week's exercise ...

How to write fascinating feature articles

Get to grips with ‘the best job in journalism’ with top tips on writing feature articles ...

Coffee break exercise: Music lessons

Think back to music lessons at school to get yourself in tune for a new piece of creative writing ...

Other Articles

How to write news articles

Learn the basics of writing a news story or information-led article with our expert help ...

Writing life: Gill Sims

The bestselling author on how the reality of family life shattered her dreams of being a 'lady writer' ...

How to build your sci-fi world

Author Gareth Powell lays out guidelines for building worlds in your science fiction and fantasy stories ...

Coffee break exercise: Journey

Find a route into your creativity in this week's writing exercise ...