Thinking positively

There is no reason why emotions should be negative. Positive attitudes work every bit as well as negative ones and enthusiasm always comes over in an author's work.

It may be a lifestyle, an ideal, a sport or a certain type of person but whatever your passion, you can convey it very effectively through the character you write about and add realistic backgrounds to your stories at the same time.

Writing as I do for the women's magazine market, my characters' attitudes and opinions reflect my own but must also relate to the readership of the magazine.

The extract below, from a short story entitled 'Wishing', illustrates the frustration an intelligent, hardworking businesswoman feels when trapped in a marriage with a dominant husband. She has found what she considers to be her dream home but her husband controls the finances and has to be persuaded that the property is a good investment before he will consider parting with her hard-earned cash.

Watching Martin pace round the outside of the building, Lisa could almost see the figures being calculated within his brain.

She sighed, wondering why his head for business had ever attracted her to him. A young accountant who knew a good thing when he saw it, Martin had seized the opportunity to show the inexperienced fashion student how to market the hand-made knitwear she was producing.

In the eighteen years since they'd married, the home-based operation had grown into a thriving, designer label company.

She squared her shoulders, determined to fight off the familiar knot of disappointment that Martin's attitude was causing in her stomach.

Throughout the story, Martin's reaction to everything Lisa shows him is cold and disinterested. Determined not to lose her dream, Lisa explores the grounds and is delighted to find a wishing well, complete with thatched roof, concealed in the neglected garden.

She intends to breed sheep on the land in order to produce wool for her garments and is even more pleased when the house agent assures her that the well is real and the water pure.

Unfortunately, Martin fails to see the potential of the property, either romantic or financial, and in a last ditch attempt to persuade him otherwise, Lisa lures him towards the wishing well. The story's ending was, for me, more than satisfactory in dealing with the injustice of Lisa's situation:

A sudden thought caused Lisa to frown. As she opened the car door and reached for the mobile phone, she wondered whether the well might be polluted. Admittedly Mr Peters had insisted that the water was pure but things were a little different now.

No. Lisa shook her head firmly. Nothing could go wrong. Especially as she'd made a wish. Which is what you always did, wasn't it? Just before you threw something into a wishing well.

It is not only the sense of a wrong righted that vindicates Lisa in the appalling crime she has committed but also her almost childlike innocence in chasing an elusive dream.

She and I had absolutely nothing in common in looks, age and, thankfully, our choice of husband but I couldn't help feeling sorry for her and wanting her to have her wish and it was this element that brought her character alive and made the story work for me.

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