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How I wrote a book

Element Tree is a book that is very much me, written when I had a lot of time on my hands. It is full of alternative views and thoughts on controversial topics, historical facts and inspiring places that I have visited such as Italy, Egypt, and Lindisfarne, whilst set locally in Sleaford, Boston and Grantham. It is about people united by their love of music, ancient DNA curiosities and living a healthy self-sufficient life controlled by the surrounding nature. Several very different groups of friends come together at a major rock festival at Glastonbury, to save the world. It covers the powers of music vibration, questions Darwinism and asks the reader to think outside the box. Once published, the book turned out to be a little prophetic, with 11 things mentioned, all unusual, coming true. I wrote that:

Metallica and Robert Plant both played at Glastonbury festival, which they did in 2014,

Unusual weather patterns, that have all happened,

An ocean of water inside the Earth erupts to the surface, one of which was discovered in 2017, 620 miles under the surface,

The house I moved into in 2014 is virtually identical to the one my character lives in, in the book.

a. Only one door into it (I have no back door)

b. Windowed alcove next to the open fire

c. Orchard and small meadow at the back, which I have...and lots more. People who had read the book would text or call saying its happened again!!

The characters are all based on real people- really it's a collection of all the best things I have seen or experienced. This made writing really easy. I never included anything personal or private, and changed things slightly until people were unrecognisable, and were only aware they were in the book if I told them It was partly written as a homage to my friends, and the great times we have all shared.

As with a lot of people, I always wanted to write a book, and Element Tree was published thanks to a VERY dear friend, who formed a publishing company for this book. It only took 3 months to write, but a year to edit. The writing was the easy bit, as I had already collected all the research I wanted to include, and had a really great system to ensure that anything mentioned had a conclusion. It is easy to write about stuff, fictional or historical, but tying the story together is the tricky bit. Here's how I wrote Element Tree, and how I will write Artist Tree, Volume II of the Recurring Manuscripts.

Spider graph

The story plan was laid out on a spider chart, with key aspects and character involvement paired up. This is referenced whenever I forgot what direction a character or story line was going to take and I add or remove from it throughout writing as new ideas form. Ticking used stuff also reminds you what you have already included. Despite all the planning, I deliberately only thought about the first half of the story. This ensured that the reader had no idea what was to come, because as when I wrote, I didn't know myself! As the story runs, the pace speeds up finalising with all the characters meeting at the ultimate mu.........I wont spoil it, you'll have to read it! (hehe)


For Element Tree there were a lot of actual facts, from architectural history to alternative conspiracy theories. One of my main goals was to mix fact with realistic fiction, forcing the reader to think as to what is true and what isn't. My Masters Degree training ensured I recorded all sources of information. This is vital for checking facts, copy write restrictions (when using quotes or lyrics) and for further information as the story takes its path. All references to places are geographically correct. Italy and Egypt are big parts of the story, and most of the gags and laughs actually happened on our various vacations.

Character Roles

I had an A2 piece of paper ruled into six columns, one for each set of characters. I used Post-it notes with details to include stuck in the column of the character. As I wrote, I wanted to ensure everything had a purpose. Therefore if I wanted something mentioned again, I made a note and stuck it in the right column for later use. This made sure I didn't forget the flow of a character and left me with a record of who had done what, a summary of what I had written. Remembering who had done what was the hardest part of writing, but this system made it a piece of cake.

Chapter Record

There were many times when I needed to add something that had already been written, but remembering where it was, was a nightmare. I kept a record of chapters on the A2 character role sheet. I simple numbered the characters progression by writing the chapter number at the relevant point amidst the Post-its. If ever I then needed to add anything, it was easy to locate.

If ever you have thought about writing a book...DO IT! Be organised, write about things you have extensive in-depth knowledge of and keep the reader guessing!

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