"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Saturday, 26 June 2010


Serendipity - A seeming gift for finding good things accidentally - a word coined by Horace Walpole after the Persian tale of the Three Princes of Serendip.

I was at the 30th Winchester Writers' Conference today, to hear Sir Terry Pratchett speak at the opening plenary session, in a talk he entitled "Why are you listening to me when you should be at home writing?" !!

He is a great believer in serendipity, he tells us. Things happen to him by happy chance - things that further his hugely successful writing career, as if he needed much more to help him on his way in that regard. To a packed auditorium in the Stripe Building at Winchester University he told us that he has never plotted a book - the process, he modestly explained, simply comes naturally to him when he wakes up and starts work each day. He was almost embarrassed to tell us this, but he did admit that sometimes the story did have to be rearranged later to get things into correct and sensible order.

He did also stress the value of reading massive amounts - a habit he acquired as a very young child, with a particular interest in historic novels. History, he told us, is so full of "amazing stuff." I certainly read avidly throughout childhood, mostly books of a scientific nature, as I actually disliked history intently, so obviously missing out badly on all that "amazing stuff."

Perhaps this is why I could no more write a fantasy novel as I suspect Sir Terry could write a scientific paper. (see an earlier blog of mine!)

Be that as it may, I have certainly benefited from serendipity in my writing journey. I was drawn to this conference in 2007 at a time when my writing demanded the further advice that a conference such as this can offer, and serendipity again led me to O Books Publishers; I was "fed up" one dark and miserable winter evening and drove to Bluewater for some retail therapy. There in Waterstones I stumbled straight away upon Barry Cottrell's The Way Beyond the Shaman, published by O Books, and thereafter received his encouragement and assistance in tempting O Books to take me on. Thank you Barry.

So here's to serendipity and avid reading.

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