Clare B. Dunkle

Storytelling and Fiction Writing

by Clare B. Dunkle

Garden on the Isle of Iona

People often ask me if I have always wanted to write books. The answer is no: honestly, I never wanted to write books at all. I have never had a habit of writing for my own enjoyment, although I have always enjoyed writing. I always felt that such a hobby would take up too much time.

In May of 2001, I began writing fiction for the first time since seventh-grade creative writing class, and I only did so because my husband specifically asked me to. I found that I had been right about one thing: writing does take a lot of time. It's also addictive. When I have to stop writing for a few weeks, I am restless and unhappy. I can't wait to start again.

I didn't read any manuals or how-to books on fiction writing before I set to work. I just let the process itself teach me. But I have done a lot of thinking about that process as I have composed my novels, and I have set some of that thinking down in these pages. None of it, I am sure, is new, but some of the ideas may be new to you. Whether you are working through writing problems of your own or just want to gain a deeper appreciation of the writing craft, I hope that you enjoy these pages.

Being a writer means realizing, in a flash of inspiration, exactly what needs to change in Chapter Three—and then noticing that you have just missed your exit.

Being a writer means stopping in the middle of a great session because the cat just threw up.

Being a writer means feeling guilty to the characters in your head because you haven't taken the time yet to write their stories.

Being a writer means chewing gum while you write dialogue because otherwise your lips will move and people walking by will think you're a moron.

Being a writer means working alone, so there is no one around to tell you how great that last sentence was—but you have no qualms about doing it yourself.

Being a writer means being in love with something your friends haven't gotten the chance to meet yet: you want to talk to fans about the book you're just now writing, and they want to talk about the book they just read.

Being a writer means crying over the sad parts, even though you already know it's going to be okay.

Being a writer means the joy of the journey.

All webpage text copyright 2003-2014 by Clare B. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. All photos copyright 2003-2014 by Joseph R. Dunkle, unless attributed otherwise. You may make one print copy of any page on this site for private or educational use. You may quote the author using short excerpts from this website, provided you attribute the quote. You may use the photos in both print and virtual media to promote the author's books or events. All other copying or use of this website material, either photos or text, is forbidden without the express written consent of the author.