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Submitted by visitors to this website

Posted by Simon

October 14th 2013

Hello Mr. Nicholson, I enjoyed a lecture by you a few years ago at BAFTA, (Julian Fellowes was also talking that night). Remembering that I looked you up online recently and found this site. Hooray! I wonder whether you plot your novels tightly before beginning writing, or do you have a vague Idea of where you want to go with the plot, but lots of interesting situations and characters in your head and let the plot evolve in a more free wheeling manner? I write myself and I'm very interested in how other writers approach this. Thank you. Simon.

William Nicholson responded:

I don't plot tightly, but I do plot before I start. I have a pretty clear notion of where I'm going, but you're right to suggest that characters take me to new places as the book rolls along. Then I have to go back and stitch in preliminary material to make the new stuff belong in the whole. I find it's a constant process of moving from macro to micro and back again. I maintain an ongoing summary of what I've written as I work, so that I can hold the whole book in my head at every point. Structure is crucial - but even more crucial is credible characters. As soon as the characters start doing things because your plot requires them to do it, you're sunk. Best of luck with your own work.

Posted by Luke Chelius

September 26th 2013

I just read your book The Wind Singer. I have to do a report on it for my 5th grade language arts class. I was wondering if there were any pictures of the The Wind Singer structure. Any help would be appreciated!

William Nicholson responded:

No, there are only pictures created by readers in their own way. So the good news is you're free to imagine it as you like.

Posted by Mike

September 24th 2013

Dear Mr Nicholson, I've been a fan since Shadowlands and The Retreat from Moscow (Eileen Atkins was heartbreaking and magnificent). I'm writing to congratulate you on Motherland, which is beautifully done. I especially enjoyed the Dieppe chapter (put together like a Swiss watch) and the moving ending. At the risk of naming someone you don't care for, I am reminded sometimes of P.H. Newby or J.B. Priestley when I read your clear, flowing prose. Did you ever meet or take an interest in either of these writers? Anyhow, from Florida, thanks for all the good work.

William Nicholson responded:

It's a long time since I've read JBPriestley or Newby, but the comparison honours me. And I get a frisson from thinking of you reading my work in Florida. My next-but-one novel (the next one, out next year, is called 'Reckless'), 'Triangle Street', ends up in Coconut Grove, Florida, for reasons too complicated to explain.

Posted by Hermione

September 23rd 2013

I have no question, I just wanted to thank you for 'All the Hopeful Lovers' I has given me a happy 24 hours, I stayed up all night to finish it. The characters, your insight, fabulous.

William Nicholson responded:

I have very little sense of how many readers there are out there reading my books, so every message like yours carries great weight. So thank you for carrying that momentary impulse to communicate with me through to the actual deed. It makes a big difference.

Posted by Chris

September 15th 2013

Blimey. I've just belted through Rich and Mad in one sitting. Simple question: do you have plans to write more about Maddy and Rich? And what about Paul Pico? I'm worried about him -and Cath and Max and the beautifully named Imo - and even the horrible (but I cannot think irredeemable) Leo. And what about poor Grace? You left her under a duvet, bruised and battered! What happens to her? Less simple supplementary question: How do writers, how do you, make us care about your characters? Even the vile ones sometimes.

William Nicholson responded:

No more coming on Maddy and Rich, I'm afraid. But I'm really pleased you enjoyed your time with them. What happens to Grace? Nothing good, I fear. As for caring about characters, even bad ones, I guess it comeso down to my own sense of other people, which is that everyone is good and loveable when you get deep enough into them. I'm not a believer in original sin, as you can see.

Posted by Daniel

September 9th 2013

Dear William, I still hope for the day you start a twitter. The name makes it sound frivolous, but it is the cleanest most effective way I've seen someone engage their fans. Would love to be able to stay up to date on your work. Thanks always for writing of course. Your work, especially with the Wind on Fire, has stayed with me for many years.

William Nicholson responded:

I've kept away from Twitter, maybe wrongly. Seems to me I'd need more than the limit to say what I'm up to. But maybe I should just get more disciplined.