13 August 2013

What to do when you get stuck - Tuesday Talk

I thought I'd follow on from last week's Tuesday Talk with a bit more about my Pendragon's Banner Trilogy.

Original cover of 1st edition

My first novel, The Kingmaking, published twenty years ago,  took me over ten years to write. Mind you I had long periods when I wrote only a few words – and even then I crossed them out again. I had one patch of real writer’s block which lasted for over six months. In hindsight I realise I had completely lost my confidence. Why on earth was I scribbling this rubbish which no one in their right mind would bother to read? The urge to write, however, was strong so I decided to attend a creative writers class. What a disaster – although it did get me writing again! 

I discovered that the class was attended by depressed women who all had “personal” issues. They wanted to write their experiences of divorce, failed romantic attachments and the like. I wanted to get back to writing my epic novel about King Arthur – not quite the same agenda! 
The woman taking the class set us the task of writing down our feelings. I stifled a yawn but had to write something. What? Not a single idea was in my head, so I scribbled down the first words that came to me: Pen, paper, idea, storyArthur. King. Sword…Battleand suddenly I found myself writing a battle scene.
“OK, you can stop now!” came the voice of the class leader. 
No way! I had not written anything worthwhile for months, I wasn’t going to stop now!

As  it turned out, that brief passage eventually became the opening chapter of the second book in my Arthurian Trilogy – which did, of course, evenually get written and accepted by William Heinemann of Random House.

The editions in print now are published by Sourcebooks in the US and indie published in the UK by Helen Hart’s Assisted Publishing company SilverWood Books.

And I suppose the moral of the tale is: if you really want to do something, don’t give up on it.

(Don't forget to call back later in the week for the Wonders of Rome Blog Hop - more on here about King Arthur!)

To read the battle scene: click here


  1. Helen I love this story. Thanks for sharing and you were wise enough to trust your instincts and keep on writing.


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