Wednesday 28th June 2006 by C. Freeman
Local author, Peter Simmonds passed on a few tips of the trade when he visited Brooke Weston's creative writing group. Peter told students three golden rules for writing which he has learned over years as both a full and part time author.
He started writing stories relatively late in life, after working as an accountant and youth worker. Years spent leading children's groups using drama and ventriloquism meant that he learned the art of storytelling and suspense.
His first book, Bicycle Man, was published in 1997 by Scripture Union but he then had problems trying to find a publisher for his further two novels. Peter solved the problem by setting up his own publishing company, Red Rock Publishing, and so produced his own books 'Thief of Time' and 'Candy Rock' in 2005.
'The publishing industry is like the movie industry. Publishers require someone who will go straight in at number one. Self publishing came about because I was so frustrated at not getting my work published.' he said.
Peter, a father of four, writes for a general audience although his books are appreciated by children. The creative writing group, headed up by Stephanie Gonda had all read at least one of Peter's books in order to gain the most from his visit.
Inspired by mysteries, such as work by Agatha Christie, Peter always tries to put a little mystique into his own work and the art is to grab the reader's attention on the first page … then they'll be intrigued enough to finish the book.
And Peter's three golden rules (apart from the old classic of not giving up)?:
- 'Show, don't tell. Allow room for the reader's imagination. Tell a story with drama and dialogue only. In terms of writing you can't do any wrong – go out and explore.'
- 'Include detail. Don't say tree, say horse chestnut. Be there yourself as you are writing. Putting in detail will help the reader be there with you.'
- 'Nullify the critical editor's voice that you have. Shut it out and be kind to yourself.' … not only great advice for writers, but a little adage for life itself!