Jan 28, 2010

New Kid on the Block by Nicole Townsend

It’s never too late to start, I’ve only been writing for about a year and a half and as so many people say ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book’ but never do, I finally decided to do something about it.

I’m an avid reader and I know what inspires me but before actually putting pen to paper I couldn’t think of a decent plot, so it always ended as a ‘gunnado’, putting it on the back burner and delaying the whole process. What took so long to sink in is that you actually have to start somewhere. Just write! Plot or no plot.

Luckily for me, that day did come; I found an old exercise book and started in longhand to get me started. I just wrote for myself, a story that I would want to read, with no ulterior motive or publishing thoughts in mind. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. My first draft ended up at only 25’000 words, I gave it to two friends to read and they both came back encouraging me to continue and develop it, so I persevered.

A year later I had 60’000 words and I was reasonably happy with the outcome. Two more friends read it and were generous with their praise. I knew it was a bit short but I had proved that I could last the distance and keep at it. I had enjoyed the experience, even the bad days feeling that I was wasting my time.

I had barely finished when just one word triggered a rush of new ideas for my next project and before I knew it a whole plot had developed and I was on my way again, on a roller coaster ride of adventure, looking forward each day to see where my characters would take me. I love that feeling of being part of them, their thrills and tribulations, their sadness and heartache.

The first draft is definitely the most fun, exploring, letting your ideas take you wherever they want, sometimes pulling them back into line. This time I’m trying to pace myself better, I’m improving and the word count is rising. I’ll get there eventually!


My name is Nicole Townsend, I grew up in Switzerland and England.

Travelling was part of my life from the day I was born. I immigrated to Australia in 1973 and worked in the travel industry (of course). I married Keith who had travelled as much as I had, and then we settled down to raise a couple of boys away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

We’ve been farming in the South of Western Australia for the last 17 years; we enjoyed the change of lifestyle but are now ready to hit the road again as soon as we can sell.


  1. Hi Nicole, you're so right. The first draft is fun! The words and ideas can flow, the characters can head off in random directions and I'm happy to go along for the ride!

    Travelling is fabulous and it sounds like you've done a lot. Enjoy the open road again when you head off. All those fabulous experiences will turn up in one of your stories!

  2. Thanks Helene, I certainly hope to use my travel experiences as background one of these days.

  3. Hi Nicole, great to hear about your writing journey! I'm I agree with Helene too, the first draft is so much fun and all these new characters that you need to name - it's like having kids all over again and you get to use the names you like, not the ones you had to compromise on!!

  4. Hi Fleur, thanks for your comment, I actually changed a couple of character names after the story started developing, their original name didn't suit them once I got to know them better!!

  5. Name changes?

    Have had to do a stack in the latest manuscript and viola, the hero is finally heroic! Wish he'd told me earlier he didn't like his name...

  6. My publisher asked me to change my main characters' name in Red Dust, so Linsea became Gemma! (Louise politely asked why I had called her that, with spelling I had - it was to do with nicknames!) It took me ages to stop calling her Linsea and even now, I've been known to slip up when I'm doing a talk! Louise (publisher) said that unusual names and spellings can be a distraction to the reader. Hence the very plain name, but nice name, Amanda, in Blue Skies!

  7. Smile!! It's fun getting to know them and it's why we write!