I agree with… Lucy Prebble

Lucy Prebble “What ideas grab you? Meaty controversial issues based on real events. Topics that frighten and thrill you. Paedophilia, anorexia, corporate brinkmanship … Because you’re a perfectionist, research is a compulsion. You read widely on your current topic and immerse yourself in its world. For Secret Diary… this meant hours with courtesans, dominatrices, punters; for Enron, visits to the stock market bear pit.”
[excerpt from an interview in MsLexia magazine, Dec/Jan/Feb 2013/2014 issue] 

Lucy Prebble

[photo: 100books.co.uk]

Lucy Prebble is an award-winning playwright who wrote her first play while at university in Sheffield. Her most-celebrated play Enron is about the collapse of the American energy group of the same name. She also wrote the TV series Secret Diary of a Call-Girl, based on Belle du Jour’s blog, which starred Billie Piper. And she likes research.

I like research too, and to understand Rose Haldane in Ignoring Gravity I needed to learn about adoption. I read so many books about adoption, written by birth parents, adoptive parents, adopted children, adult adoptees searching for their birth parents: I read information guides on websites about how to adopt a child; how to search for your birth parents; what to say when… if… you should meet. It’s difficult: I immersed myself into this world which was alien to me, how could I ever write about this without feeling like an imposter?

Empathy. And imagination. I empathised with the stories I read and re-read. And I took their situations and put myself there, and then I imagined. What if it was me? What would I do? How would I feel? Why had this happened to me? How come I didn’t guess the truth?

Two books were key to my research:-
Nicky Campbell’s Blue-Eyed Son, click here to read my review and learn more about Nicky’s search for his birth parents.
And Paul Arnott’s A Good Likeness. He writes, “Instead of being Paul Arnott, 11/11/61, I was now Rory Brennan, 11/11/61.” It is compelling reading. Click here to read my review.

I drew up my ‘adoption scenario’ and put Rose into it. Then I imagined how she would react. And then I started writing.

If you agree with Lucy Prebble, perhaps you will agree with:-
Hilary Mantel  – your characters are flickering constructs, they are always on the move
Joanna Trollopee-books are leased
Hanif Kureishi writing is an art, but it is also a business

Lucy Prebble


‘Enron’ by Lucy Prebble [UK: Bloomsbury] Buy now

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
I agree with @lucyprebblish #researching is a compulsion for #writers http://wp.me/p5gEM4-OM via @SandraDanby


    • Good! I found the adoption research fascinating, so many situations, so many possibilities or dead ends. Very emotional. And I can only imagine what it is like to actually experience it, my respect goes to those people who live it. SD

    • Thx Andrea. I find it difficult knowing when I’m ready to stop researching and start writing. I guess my tendency is to over-research, as my instinct is still factual. Trying to break that mould though! SD