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I am nosey and curious. I don’t mean to be but just cannot help myself. Maybe it was because I was born a Collins and is implanted in my genes or maybe it’s just because I am female. Whatever it is, this curse leads me to check out things…..like twitter.

It was about a year ago now and just after I had decided to write my first novel. I had heard people talking about this new social networking site and thought I would take a look. And a look is all I could do. I understood nothing; follow buttons, @ tags, tweet options – my mind boggled. Two days later, and on the verge of losing the will to live, I tired of trying to figure out how it worked and walked away.

Twittermania was exploding around me so a few weeks later I tackled it again, still totally clueless as to what it was all about. However this time, and I’m still unsure how, but people began to follow me. Now I am not a huge tweeter by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t class myself as extremely humorous, I don’t follow people just because, and I certainly did not think twitter would benefit my writing in any way, shape or form. I just liked the idea, as with Facebook, that it allowed me to see what was going on in the world outside my own little bubble. I was totally unprepared for what was coming.

The last time I attempted to write a novel I was ten years old. I was the proud owner of a beige electronic typewriter and my trusty pink laptop was an item that even NASA could not comprehend. There was no internet, no mobile phones and certainly no ‘wheelies’. If you wanted to read a book, you actually walked (yes, remember those days), to a book store and purchased a £1.99 paperback. And if you wanted to talk to someone it was either in person or via the telephone, which was usually a hideously coloured and oversized monstrosity taking up the majority of a kitchen work surface. If you happened to be ringing a number containing numerous zero’s, then you also had to contend with the possibility of watching an episode of Starsky and Hutch while waiting for the dial to rotate.

Nowadays, though, it’s so different. The internet allows us to talk to our friends via Skype, keep in touch via numerous social sites, and the research benefits are extraordinary. Taking for granted these amazing, if not now under appreciated, opportunities, I tweeted a link to a friend. It was a draft first chapter for a book I was writing and they wanted to read it. It wasn’t meant for anyone else and I was certainly not expecting anyone else to even click the link, let alone read the chapter. But a young lady named Kristen Lamb did click the link, then read the chapter and finished with a comment. I was overjoyed. We got emailing and I found I really liked her. She shared my passion for writing and had the most brilliant, wicked sense of humor. She began to tell me where I was going wrong with my writing. Up until then I had only written articles, something so different to novels. I listened to her intently, she was amazing and I could not believe my luck at having found this kind of help, and even a friendship that I will always be grateful for.

Over the past year I have become a much better writer, am a proud member of WWBC and have met some of the most amazing writers (you know who you are Karla).

I used to plot and write……now I plan, plan, plan, plot and write. I don’t know about you, but twitter has been an amazing experience for me.

Kristen Lamb is the author of ‘We Are Not Alone’. Check out her blog or twitter

Author Piper Bayard’s blog

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