This is one of the most intimate pieces of writing I have ever shared: a love letter to Switzerland, the country that welcomed me for seven years, where my children and my novel were born. Thanks to my colleagues at The Woolf Quarterly over in Zurich for prompting me to write it: digging into the emotions that inspired a whole novel was a challenge, but cathartic!
“Let the listener invent their own dragon.” I can’t remember who uttered this line, but it has stayed in my mind since last century, when I took a BBC News Skills training course in London.
The nervy young broadcast journalists renamed it News Kills. Until a man in tweed came to our stuffy classroom to impart his code for living: “It’s only radio, but it’s what we do.”
I learned to create sound pictures that let the listener see “their own dragon”. Why state you’re on a beach when you can immerse the audience in surf and seagulls? Why say an interviewee is nervous when you can hear his shallowness of breath between carefully-chosen words? A broadcaster, like a novelist, is a magpie for the glimmering detail that sparks life into a story.
To read more of my guest post about how a career in broadcasting influences my fiction, visit Women Writers.