If You Could Have Written One Book?

If you could have written one book what would it be?

Don’t think for too long or your list will be twenty or thirty books long.

As soon as the book you think of first comes into your head, think about the reasons why you have chosen that particular one.

For me the answer is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.


The reasons why?

I loved the story. I loved the main character’s name, ‘Montag’. I loved the idea that a group of people who you thought of as on your side and protectors – Fireman – could in fact be the opposite. I grew up in Cold War Europe, and the notion that the media portrayed life in definite terms which may or may not be the whole picture meant the society in the book had noticeable parallels. The conclusion of the story was also such a powerful image.

In age of the great painters it was very common for the master to place before his students one of his works and task them to copy it. They would have to replicate the composition, the layering, the mixing of colours, and each brush stroke, and in doing so learnt so much more than wordy instructions.

Take the specific elements that you chose your book for and write your own version.

Learn from an old master.

Study the structure. Study the characters and speech. Study the description.

Write your version. It won’t be identical. It might not be very good. It might be a revelation.

But whatever the outcome, your writing will be changed by the experience.


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