Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
25 July 2007
Posted to the web 26 July 2007
Renowned Scottish author of the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series Alexander McCall-Smith sat with young aspiring writers at Maruapula's AV Centre in Gaborone yesterday and gave them tips on writing.
The Scot, who has sold millions of copies worldwide, said that before he became a well-known writer, he wrote children's books on a part-time basis.
He disclosed that he started the Mma Ramotswe Series by accident.
"I wrote what I thought would be a short story, but I ended up liking the Mma Ramotswe character so much and off she went and became a series," he said.
The series made the Scot a household name, but the author explains that although the Mma Ramotswe books are regarded as detective books, they are not 'real' detective books.
"In most detective books, characters don't die of natural cases, but in my books you would note that there are no autopsies at all," he said jokingly.
McCall-Smith asked aspiring writers not to be overly confident about their works and encouraged them to start by writing short stories before moving on to novels. He said if they started by writing short stories it would help them hone their skills and eventually write bigger volumes.
Despite his international stature, McCall-Smith comes across as a humble man who spices his talk with jokes.He joked that some people go around saying "they have stories" yet do nothing about it."Everyone has a story. If you think you have got a book inside you, have an x-ray," he joked amid laughter.
The author encouraged his listeners to fantasize when [continue reading]