Saturday, 19 March 2011

Why I've missed a few posts

Posted by Leigh Russell
In some ways writers are similar to visual artists, in their close observation of details. Painters seeing a landscape might rearrange the composition in their heads, select colours for a canvas, respond to light and shade (I’m guessing here.)
As a writer even the most mundane detail transforms into words in my head – a carrier bag flapping in a gust of wind, the smell of earth beneath dry leaves – anything can be used to help set a scene somewhere in a book.
Recently I had a very different experience of noticing detail, spending a week in hospital suffering a severe bout of pneumonia. Looked after by a wonderful team of NHS staff, I was reminded how much I take for granted every day. That first cup of NHS tea when I was able to drink, the feel of dry sheets after I managed to dislodge my drip which leaked in the bed (it was the drip), the joy of eating a piece of toast!
Not much about writing here but I have been a bit off the case recently - although I did have a clear view of the hospital car park, deserted after dark. One night I watched a lone figure hurry along the walkway and couldn’t help thinking “What if…”
…a second figure leaps unexpectedly from the shadows, brandishing a knife, and the patient becomes an unwilling witness, three floors up. Before she can move or cry out the victim staggers and falls, the assailant vanishes into the darkness… The patient presses her buzzer and watches as the victim bleeds to death far below in the deserted car park…
Ionesco wrote that "A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing." Seems we can't stop writing or thinking about writing!


  1. I second that. Everything is a detail to be filed away and everyone we meet is a potential character. (Hugs)Indigo

  2. Yes, Indigo, you're right it applies to characters too. I think that's why sometimes characters and details seem to appear from nowhere. We forget where we've seen or heard them, but they're stored away somewhere in our minds.

  3. Hello, Leigh. I'm glad you're feeling better. While on vacation recently, I finished reading your first two novels. I reviewed them both on my blog. Well done. We read Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series in our home, and I found your universe of character just as strong as her's. Continued success to you,


  4. Hi Jimmy - that's a real compliment, thank you very much. I'm so glad you enjoyed my first two novels and hope you read Dead End, out in May, which has already had a fabulous review in New Books Magazine - you can read it on my blog if you're interested. Thanks again for your interest, and for your good wishes.