That was something Amit Dhand’s father used to say to him.

One of the evening speakers at Swanwick was Amit Dhand, described on his author’s page on Amazon as follows:

A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

The windows of that corner shop were often broken by a gang of local youths. The police were often called out by Amit’s father. Amit told us that one day, when the windows had been smashed again, Amit’s father said it was time to ‘change the narrative’. The young men were outside, sitting on the pavement, drinking beer. Mr Dhand picked up a can of cider and went outside.He looked at the group, and they looked at him. He said he could either call the police, or they could talk. He sat next to the leader and yes, they talked. There were some tense moments, but they ended up swapping drinks, and Amit’s dad said that as they’d talked and shared drinks, then surely that made them mates now.

The story ended amicably, with the group agreeing not to break the windows any more, and  Mr Dhand taking on some of the group as paper boys.

Amit said it was one of the greatest lessons he learned from his father. To change the narrative. Which he had to do himself many times as he struggled to become a successful novelist.

As writers, we may have to do the same. As many times as it takes.

I’ve just finished writing a new version of The Three Little Pigs. Laugh if you must! It’s for our family service on Sunday. I HAVEN’T CHANGED THE BASIC STORY, BUT I’VE CHANGED THE NARRATIVE.

Maybe our first effort at writing a story, a poem, a novel, or an article, may be like the first little pig’s effort to build a strong house with a barrowful of straw. Maybe our next effort may end up like the house made of wood – better but not there yet! Maybe our third, forth, our twenty seventh, or even our ninety ninth effort will match that of the third little pig.

I think it’s worth a try. Don’t you?

Frog: (Sadly) Pigs! Why pigs, when it could have been The Three Little Frogs!