Our Writer Of The Week is debut author Becca Robin. Becca’s story, “The Magic Meadow”, appears in the September 11 issue.
“The Magic Meadow” is a feel-good story. Where did the idea originate from?
A simple story starter. I pictured a very stressed man breaking down in his car in a county lane – simple as that. It was a lovely story to write because the ideas seemed to flow naturally. That doesn’t always happen when I write, but it did this time, once I’d worked out why he was so stressed and who he might ask for help. I also like introducing surprising elements into a story, and an expectant donkey seemed to fit the bill.
Considering the stresses and strains in life, do you think the readers will be able to relate to Vic?
Gosh, yes I imagine we all can. Poor old Vic is so stressed in his high-pressured job, he can’t see the wood for the trees. He’s under so much strain, he’s forgotten how to relax and just “be”. I think it’s easy for any of us to find ourselves in that trap.
Are you a city or country girl at heart, and does story location matter to you when it comes to your writing?
I do love giving my stories a rural setting. Although I live in town now, I was raised in the country and have very vivid memories of favourite walks and special places, particularly of the kinds of wildflowers I loved to pick as a child. “The Magic Meadow” is an amalgamation of a few of those places and, on reflection, Wenvale House, which sits at the top of the meadow, is the for ever home I’d love to find for myself one day.
You have had, I think I’m right in saying, three stories bought by the “Friend” in relatively quick succession. What’s the secret to your success?
Well, here’s the thing: I did have a go at writing magazine stories a long time ago, when I was in my twenties, but they were an abysmal failure. Speaking personally, I think I needed more life experience to be able to write these kinds of stories with conviction. I put my heart into every one and am absolutely delighted to have had three accepted by the “Friend” so quickly.
My other secret is my dear Auntie Ray who has been a “Friend” reader for years and is a shrewd judge of fiction. It’s very useful for me to keep her in mind when I write and ask myself if she would enjoy the story. She’s my guiding star.
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
Laptop, armchair, suburban front room window with the rest of the world going about its business just behind my shoulder. It might not seem the ideal or most inspiring place, but it works for me.
I do keep a notebook and pencil next to the bed, in case I wake up in the night with a brilliant story idea. This happened a few weeks ago. I woke in the wee small hours, convinced I’d had the best idea ever and wrote it down in the dark, not wanting to wake my other half by putting the light on.
The next morning, I had forgotten the idea but was relieved I’d written it down – until I checked the notebook. My indecipherable spidery scrawl was just bewildering! I am still wishing I could read it.
P.S., What’s your one top tip for an aspiring Writer Of The Week?
Always keep a notebook nearby to jot down ideas, before you forget them. Try combining a couple of them. Trying to find ways of fitting very different ideas together will spark off a lot of questions in your mind, which can generate a good and surprising plot.
Oh, but if you’re making notes at night, do remember to turn the light on . . .