Is it Clever to Write a Book?


I popped over to see my folks tonight and delivered some freshly made Maid of Honours. I had a lovely morning in the kitchen, although I need a dishwasher.

Whilst I was there they asked me how the book was going and it spiraled into an hour long conversation about where I get my ideas.

Such a difficult question to answer.


I was able to tell them about some of the characters and plots and links and twists that I was making, all of which I’m very happy about.

This is when my Mam said “You’re so clever”.

I don’t consider myself a clever person. Clever people are doctors and lawyers and can design things, or build things or are good with computers. I am none of the above.

But the depths at which I have thought about my novel, and subsequent novels, is quite astonishing. I guess what I’m really talking about is the big important plot points. The really important things need to be thought out.

A lot of the, what I call, “clever” stuff happens by accident whilst I’m writing. This may make me seem clever, which I’m all for, but in reality I don’t think I am. I’m getting quite good at connecting different ideas or plot strands. Plots that weren’t connected at the time of conception but became connected whilst the ideas were allowed to blossom on the page. If this makes me clever then yay!

The things I’m most proud of are the teeny-tiny lines of dialogue, or little-mini bits where there isn’t any talking but it’s all said with a look. These are the parts I like the most. Probably because they are character driven. When a character says something that surprises even the author, that’s when I know I’ve done my job right; that’s when I realise that they are real to me and have agendas of their own.

But is that clever?

Is it clever fashioning a book? Constructing the plot, creating characters, making them walk and talk and laugh and cry, pushing them through a mythology that you’ve made and cultivated into, fingers-crossed, a good book; is this clever?

I like to think that Crystal Green and the Moon Machine is an entertaining story. I like to think it’s got heart. I like to think that it moves at a good pace and makes you want to keep reading. I like to think that this story is going to get me into the world of literary agents and publishers. I like to think that this is my way of becoming a published author.

I’m not sure it’s a clever book. I consider clever books to be the ones you’re told to read in school and college and university. These types of books are well thought of and well written. But do you read a book because it’s well written? Or do you read a book because it’s a good story?

I know why I read a book. I love a good story me.

2 thoughts on “Is it Clever to Write a Book?”

  1. Perhaps “clever” conveys different meanings in different parts of the world.

    When I hear “clever”, I think of criminals. “He was such a clever criminal to get away with ax-murdering his wife.”

    I’m sure your mom didn’t mean it this way, though.

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