Sunday, November 9, 2014

Do You Remember Your First Time? #amsg #amwriting

First times are always special. That first kiss. The first time you made love. Your first book cover *wink.*

Firsts are always special. You can experience different things over and over, but out of a million memories, first times are always remembered, long after more meaningful memories have faded away.

I remember my first kiss.  More than twenty years after it happened I can still taste him on my lips. I still remember catching my breath, and rising up on my toes under that lamppost, my body set to supernova when at last our lips brushed....

Alright, alright. I know my first kiss reads like something out of a Harlequin novel, but that's okay, because that's how I remembered it. It's funny how a romance plays out in your head, no matter where you are or what you're doing. As it happens I was coming back from a pub on the local council estate in Kent where I lived with my parents. It wasn't his first kiss, and by all accounts he was 'a bit of a lad.'  I remembered I'd been drinking. We kissed within yards of my Irish parents' house - to the constant flap of a curtain every minute or so as they kept an eye on me. Not so romantic perhaps. But I didn't care. I was finally being kissed and my young, hormonal body was ripe for such an experience.

As a novelist we have so many experiences to draw from and set the scene. I know how important it is to get inside your character's head - to share their emotions and longings, and to bring their thoughts as well as actions to the page. But don't forget the background. Every painting has one behind the sitter. So every book should in some way set the scene. 

I have recently read many novellas/short stories that are almost all written as conversations between the principle characters. But we are writing novels, not plays, aren't we? So I advise against neglecting your setting. Settings add color and dimension to your world, so don't be afraid of it. The page is a blank canvass. Give it depth and you give it life. And if you hit a brick wall, and can't relate to what your character should feel in the spot you have placed them, then look inside yourself; maybe all the way back to that first time you experienced something similar. It's truly wonderful what you'll find there. On all dimensions.

Oh, just in case you wondered; above is my first novel cover, Drench The Wench published under my first nom-de-plume, P J Perryman. Two firsts in one sentence.

Thanks for reading :)


About Jill Jackson
Jill Jackson lives in Parkton with two fat cats and some serious ninja hummingbirds. She moved from London to the US in 2001, where she instantly fell in love with the people and culture.

She writes about anything that pops into her head, which most frequently includes fantasy, erotica and historical stories. She is represented by the L Perkins literary agency in NY.

Jill dreams of having a NY Times best seller and being hugged by Benedict Cumberbatch. She's not fussy about which one comes first.