Fiction – non fiction, which satisfies the writer most?

I’ve always thought of myself as a fiction writer although I’ve written many magazine and journal articles along the way. Writing magazine articles has mostly seemed a bread and butter exercise even though the necessary research is often fascinating and there is always pleasure in putting together a good piece of writing.

I’m still writing fiction but increasingly seem to be treading the non-fiction path. Last year I published a short history of the town where I live and now I am embarking on co-authoring the life story of Gary Skyner, the second person to be born in UK with thalidomide damage. At first I thought this would be just another writing job but as I’ve got to know, respect and admire Gary and have learned more about the thalidomide story, I’ve become absolutely hooked.

The worldwide thalidomide disaster is a worthy and fascinating subject on its own but has been told in many other books. What is unique in what we are writing is Gary’s courage and determination to live life to the full, with the result that he has been more successful than many people without disabilities. Yet Gary’s success is not down to self-seeking or self-serving behaviour, As a stand up comedian or as a motivational speaker touring schools and organisations his aim is to help people make the most of themselves and he is not averse to poking fun at himself along the way.

I’ve still got plans for a new book and am near to completing a collection of short stories but I am so excited about this project that everything else is on the back burner. Gary’s life journey is a fantastic story and I really hope we can find a good publisher for it. Hoping to have it finished this year as there are so many other things waiting to be written.

It’s funny but when I get enthused about one new project my imagination seems to liven up and new plots and characters for other stories start invading my brainspace. Wonder if other writers have the same experience?

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