Monday, 14 February 2011


Hi all! I hope everyone had a good Monday, or at least a better Monday than me, since I spent the whole day with a wet flannel over my face trying to convince myself that popping one of my eyes out with a spoon would not ease the splitting headache that was driving me slowly and quietly insane.

Yeah. Ouch.

Anyway, I've had a few reader emails in the past few days so I thought I'd answer the questions here, as is my custom. First email comes from a young person whose name I *think* is Sevin, although the email came from a different name? Sorry about this, Sevin, if I've gotten it wrong.

"Do you ever think you have the best idea that will never fail, and that it will finally be the one that you follow through with, but it ends up, well...  Failing?  Like....  You never get around to completing it?  Because that happens way to often with me."

This post sort of already answers this, but the short answer is Yes. And also that This Is A Really Common Problem. Lots and lots of people start stories and can't finish them. I was starting stories with what I thought were amazing ideas from the age of about eight, but I only managed to finish one when I was sixteen, and didn't manage it again until I was about twenty. To help break this Never Ending Story Habit, you need to:
  1. Make sure that the idea you've got is really well thought through, and can sustain a full book.
  2. Give yourself achievable goals, like writing a page a day, or two pages three times a week or whatever works, and sticking to it. 
  3. Push forward, pushing through the boring bits and the blocks and the days when you want to give up, until you reach THE END. Because you can't fix a book you haven't written yet. 
The next question came from twelve year old Megan, who asked:

"I keep having these great ideas for characters or plots for books, but then I forget them before I have time to write them down, because they always come at really random times, like in the middle of a maths test or in the car or something. Do you think that there's anything I can do to maximise my chances of getting it written down? I love writing stories, but I never seem to be able to draw them out, and they end up being quite short. Is there anything I can do about that either?"

Two questions in one! The second question I have, by a stunning coincidence, already answered above! And the first is answered here:

Basically, get a notebook. And if you can't have a notebook in your maths test, scribble some notes on a piece of scrap paper, or the back of your hand, or whatever. Just write it down. Make time. Or you will forget - that's just the human brain. But don't worry too much about those ideas that slip away. There are always more ideas. Trust me. Always. And sometimes the ones that run away come back later and that's when you know they're really special.

Final email came from Linda Lau, and reads:

"...can you tell me how you got the swan kingdom idea and the flame of the daughter? do you think you can recommend any books to read? did you write any other books beside the swan kingdom and the daughter of flame?"
Which puzzles me a bit because the email came through my website and all the information to answer these questions is already there. *Shrugs* Assuming that you didn't have the time to read those pages, Linda, or maybe you found the website difficult to understand, I'll put the links to the The Swan Kingdom and Daughter of the Flames pages here, and the Books I Love page too, as well as the Shadows on the Moon page. Hopefully that helps!
Right, that's it from me today - except to say that in the midst of my lying in a darkened room groaning and dreaming about goblins drilling spikes into my head, I think I may have had a genius idea about FF. Or rather, I realised a mistake I may have made, and if I change it, everything might get better. I'll figure it out tomorrow; wish me luck. 
Right now I'm going to moisten this flannel again and turn off the computer and the lights. *Whimper*


Megha said...

The last question made me LOL.

Zoë Marriott said...

Hmmm. Yeah. Not entirely sure what's going on with that. But she took the trouble to email, so I should take the trouble to answer.

Isabel said...

Haha, I admit that I also LOLed at the last question. Mostly because she referred to your books as "the flame of the daughter" and then "the daughter of flame". I feel kinda bad, though. At least she's interested.

I'm so sorry about the headache, Zoe. Those really are a pain in the... head, I guess. LOL! And good luck, good luck, good luck with the FF idea! I know exactly what you mean - I think I may have had a genius idea about FF. Or rather, I realised a mistake I may have made, and if I change it, everything might get better. I'll figure it out tomorrow; wish me luck. That sounds EXACTLY like something I would say. Well, I've said stuff along those lines a lot recently. Anyway...

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE. LOVE YOU ALL!!! I don't know if all of you guys celebrate Valentine's Day, but who doesn't love celebrating the holiday of LOVE? <3 Sadie gave me a valentine with a pic of you. Yeah, I must sound like a creepo. Haha. Anyway, homework, so I can have time to write...

Isabel said...

Now we're kinda in the same boat. I have a really sore throat and I feel really hot even though it's winter and the heat is turned all the way down. I think I'm coming down with something...

Zoë Marriott said...

Well, perhaps English is not this person's first language - which makes it all the more impressive that they took the time to email me to tell me they liked my books. I'm just puzzled, that's all, that they couldn't find the details on the website. Maybe it's harder to navigate than I realised.

Happy Valentine's to you too, Isabel, and I hope you feel better soon. Wrap up warmly and take care.

Isabel said...

I hope we're not making her feel bad. It's good that she liked your books and wants to read more. I mean, not all people appreciate good literature. XD

Thanks! My headache's not so bad now, and my throat is okay. I'm not feeling fantastic, but I'm fine. I'll be back to normal by tomorrow.

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