Festival fever, Morris Gleitzman and the secret to a good story

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Literature Festival fever has taken hold of a leafy suburb in Brisbane. The purple fever has a grip on authors, young readers, writers and thinkers alike.

Day one ended with Morris Gleitzman who spoke to a packed auditorium about writing and that very secret, secret behind writing book after book.

“In our imagination there are no rules. It’s an exciting proposition,” Morris Gleitzman.

But what happens when you sit down with a great story in your head and brilliant characters bursting to share their stories. You sit down, open the computer or find a clean page in your notebook and, nothing. That blank screen or page stares back at you in an awkward silence that forces your gaze out a window, or at the pile of dishes you keep putting off. Instead you’re left wondering just how the successful authors, like Mr Gleitzman, do it.

Well, turns out, these people are just like us. Mr Gleitzman had a similar experience after the arrival of his first book. With that first title in hand he believed his life would be perfect as great ideas and stories flowed. But it wasn’t quite that simple. That first line was proving a bothersome beast to hold down.

It was a quest that took him to public libraries where he studied first line and great story upon first line and great story. He cracked it.

The question I have is what is the secret to the next line and the ones that follow that?

But, for this audience of future writers and readers. It was all about that first line and the secret to getting it right. The buzz of creativity that rose above the crowd and filled the large auditorium proved he really has nailed it.

I could share it with you but I think I might end on a quote from him instead. A quote that may prove more useful than the secret.

“The things in life I have never forgotten are the things I discovered myself,” Morris Gleitzman.

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