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Kevin Brooks's introduction

Kevin: Hello everybody.

Students: Hi

Kevin: Did you have a nice stroll round the gallery this morning?

Students: Yes.

Kevin: Good.

I'm not going to talk for very long, I'm just going to talk for a bit and then we'll have a look at the picture and see what we can do. But as I'm talking if you could either look at the picture here, or I've got some postcards coming round of the same picture - and all I want you to do really is - it doesn't really matter what it is, what it's supposed to be for this morning, it's just an image. So I just want you to have a look at it, and see if you can find anything interesting.

So I want to talk about ideas. Ideas to me as a writer, ideas and feelings are the most important thing about writing. I'm not going to talk today about anything about the nuts and bolts of writing - you know, grammar, language, structure, that kind of thing. Although it's very important as a writer, and I enjoy, like, working with language, I don't think it's the most important thing.

The most important thing to me is working out how to express what you feel in words, and quite often that's sort of, it's quite hard to talk about because in some ways it's a very unconscious thing. When I'm writing, I quite often say that I don't really know what I'm doing. And obviously I do know what I'm doing - I'm sitting there and writing the story, I have it all planned out and I know where the story's going. But the good stuff, the stuff that makes it more than a story, that makes it something special, that makes it mean something to me - and hopefully mean something to someone else when they read it - is the kind of quite weird stuff that comes from places inside your head that you're not too sure about - those sort of places where you sometimes find yourself - the sort of places where half-dreams come from, day dreams. And you're not really sure where that stuff is, whether it's in your head or your heart, but that's the stuff that makes things special.

When I'm writing a book, I think about it for a long time before I start writing. The characters - it sounds a bit sad and pathetic - but the characters become like living people to me. All my characters have become sort of like - it makes me sound like a mad person! - but they're my friends really, friends who live in my head! Which sounds really weird!

But if they're not alive to me, they're not going to be alive to anyone else, so what's the point of writing them, so I make sure they become alive. And the ideas I think of for the stories - I make sure they mean something to me because if they mean something to me then I'm going to put whatever I can into those stories.

Image of student.Click here for Student Responses.
Image of 'Exhibition of a Rhinoceros at Venice' by Pietro Longhi, probably 1751.Click here for About the Painting.
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