I began writing in 2018. Like everything else in my career, I didn’t plan this.
I grasp interesting opportunities when they come along, trusting that everything will work out. I have choreographed and performed in contemporary dance productions in the UK and Europe, I have created installations in museums and galleries, I have designed and built games on PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and mobile phones, and I have led a tech project at the United Nations. It has been a fun ride.
At the end of 2018, I wrote a film script. The script was based on my one big story idea. You know, the idea that’s been rattling around in your head for years. I wrote it as a film script because it involved dancing, and I didn’t know how to make that work in a novel.
I attended short courses and read books on screenwriting, covered my wall in post-it notes, joined a screenwriters’ group, and wrote three drafts. The script was not great, but it achieved two important steps — I got that story out of my head, and I discovered I enjoy writing.
What followed was more courses, more reading, and more drafts of more stories. I learned many correct ways to structure a film, plan a character, and write a screenplay before realising I had to figure out what works for me.
In mid-2021, with multiple drafts of three film scripts and one TV pilot in my pocket, screenwriter Richard Kurti recommended I read James Wood’s book How Fiction Worksi>. I realised that all those lectures and books on screenwriting had taught me everything about structure and nothing about how to use words and sentences to tell a story.
I wrote a short story, and I wallowed in the freedom to express myself on the page and to take complete control of how the story is told. Words are hard, but also fun and engaging. I enjoy finding the right combination to place a thought inside a reader’s head. The rules around screenwriting were a corset, and by throwing them off, I can dance once more.
I studied novel writing, through books and the Masterclass website, and wrote another short story before approaching my first novel. But writing can be a lonely pursuit. Isolated by Covid rules and longing to spend time with other writers, I applied to Faber Academy for their renowned Writing A Novel course and was accepted in early 2022. The course was brilliant, and guided by the wonderful Shelley Weiner our gang of fifteen writers grew into a supportive and knowledgeable writing group.
We completed the course in July 2022 and I am now deep into writing my first novel.