Novelist describes her work

Novelist describes her workAfter hearing the report on the annual conference given by Mrs Ball (president), members of the Soroptomist Club of Walsall listened to an interesting and amusing talk given by Mrs. J. L. C. Dilcock on her work as a writer.

Mrs Dilcock, whose work is published under the pseudonyms of Jill Christian and Norrie Ford, has 24 novels, innumerable short stories and serials to her credit. She stressed the point that writers were born and not made and that one could not be an amateur writer – one must write and publish.

As a member of the Society of Authors, she belongs to the group of “romantic novelists” and though outsiders were apt to laughter at this description when applied to women of mature years, they had all been young once and doubtless had more experience of romance than crime writers had of crime.

She then gave an account of the process involved in writing a novel. Firstly a period of living extrovertly, stretching out tentacles embracing various types of experience, then a withdrawing into a period of gestative “doodling”, during which the setting is decided upon. Characters take form and the problem with which they are to be involved is postulated. The chapters are planned, and then the actual writing of the story begins.

For the writer during this period, the only reality is the book and everything else seems unreal. She withdraws into herself living with her characters and, indeed, sometimes being dictated by them. When finally the book is finished, the author feels as if she had come to the end of a party.

Mrs Dilcock concluded with an account of the various methods of publishing a book.

She was thanked by Mrs Gwinnett and Mrs Vincent.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Ford - January 21, 2014, 11:10 pm Reply

    Alyson Green, the current secretary of Soroptimist International of Walsall, kindly provided some context to this article:

    [Norrey Ford] would have addressed the club sometime during the club year April 1961 – April 1962, when Mrs A M Ball was President. At that time the club met at lunchtimes at the Kenmare Restaurant, Upper Bridge Street, Walsall, which is now defunct but was then owned by Walsall & District Co-operative Society and was used by several similar organisations for lunch or dinner meetings. The report would probably have been published in the local paper the Walsall Observer. Of the names mentioned in the article the last survivor was Miss Gladys Vincent, who died in 2008 at the age of 98 after a membership lasting in excess of 60 years.

    The club was chartered in 1940, so is now in its 74th year. We still meet twice per month, changing to evening meetings during the 1980’s.

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