The Wrong Story

By James Ellis

A cartoonist awakes to find his characters' lives more real than his own

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Hello Shedlodytes - how are you? I wish I'd come up with the plot for all the political twists and turns we're witnessing at the moment - although it would probably have been red-penned as too implausible.

I started submitting short stories, poems, radio plays and cartoons in my teens. In those days I used a typewriter with carbon paper and posted the copy to magazines and publishers along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Yes, I am that old. It was a coal-powered typewriter and I travelled to the postbox on a donkey.

Although I received a lot of rejections in those SAEs the sense of excitement and anticipation every time I sent off the finished product never abated. I like to think of my stories as having to earn their keep. They have to get out there and bring back some gold.

Nowadays the postbox has mostly been replaced by the Send button in an email. But the sense of anticipation remains the same. This evening I sent the 'finished' manuscript  of The Wrong Story to my Unbound editor. To say I'm excited is a bit like saying it has rained a lot recently in Bath. The words need italics and uppercase and even (don't judge me) an exclamation mark.


78,400 words, 274 pages, 30 chapters, 3 parts, 2 PoVs, 20 characters and a partridge in a pear tree are now about to be scrutinised. This is the beast in which you've invested. Let's hope it starts earning it's keep soon.

In the meantime, good luck with making sense of what's happening in Westminster. You just can't write that stuff.

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