Vivienne Dockerty

Author of Historical Fiction

Writing Your Own Story

It's easy if you want to ...


When I am at various events throughout the year, in order to sell and promote my range of historical sagas, people often say to me that they have a story to tell ...

You have your own story to write. So when are you going to start writing it?

You have your own story to write. So when are you going to start writing it?

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I usually ask them why don't they do something about it then, and here are a few of their excuses:

  • I haven't got the time.

  • I wouldn't know where to start.

  • My story might not be interesting to other people.

  • I could tell you some tales, but I don't think my family would be happy.

They're very common excuses, but I still get told snippets of the story anyway.

Usually, a man relates a tale of the derring-do of a forebear, who fought in one of the wars with distinction. A woman will have a mystery to tell of an ancestor. A story passed down through the generations but with no backup of a record of their birth or death certificate. How frustrating.

I know that I am extremely lucky to have a father who loved to tell me stories of our Irish ancestry and a granny who told me lots of tales about her family and her life.

Their inspiration lay dormant throughout my childhood, although I did get a job as a helper in our local library when I was ten and hired my books out for a penny to my friends! It wasn't until I was in my thirties that my head started filling up with characters and I had the urge to put pen to paper, which I did throughout the following years.

"And I suppose it helped that I am a bit of a daydreamer and can live in the world that I am writing about for a while!"

It also helped to visit the places in my stories, which I did over many years. My father showed me the remains of the Irish settlement at Denna Point, where the immigrants disembarked from the cattle boats that had brought them across from their homeland.

I imagined the tarpaulins that had been draped amongst the branches of the oak trees and used for shelter until they set off for the cities looking for work. I saw the cottage in the country lane, across the fields from the village of Neston, where Maggie from A Woman Undefeated used to dwell. I walked in her footsteps across the bridge at Ballina in the sequel of her story, Dreams Can Come True. Yes, there's lots of research to be done, and a book cannot be written in a few weeks or so.

I have never been on a creative writing course. If you are a reader, you shouldn't have to, as you already know the standard of work acceptable, the sentence construction and the layout of a book. I have always felt it would stop the flow if I attended one and if there is a worry about formatting or editing, there are plenty of people out there to help.

Before I sit down at my computer, and I have to say that I only do that if the mood takes me, I ponder on a title, which is going to mean something to me as I write.

"Over the years, I have created a list of titles and I don't plan my characters in advance!"

So, I hope that I have helped with a little advice to a would-be writer. Just get on with it and you might have a blockbuster on your hands one day!

Until next time ...



If you want to read any of my books, visit my online bookstore.

More about Vivienne Dockerty ...

Since arriving back in the U.K I have enjoyed meeting lots of people at the Author Talks and book signing events that I have been invited to. It has been great connecting with my roots again and listening to other people's stories whilst I have been doing research for my next book.

A big thank you to all the readers who have posted Amazon reviews after they have finished one of my books.


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