The writing journey


May 16, 2013 by talkaboutyork

In March this year I decided to write a novel. I had a vague notion of what I wanted to write about. But I needed to flesh out the story. Which, once I put my mind to, I did. I had a series of chapters with a summary of what was going to happen in each. I had back stories for characters. All I had to do was write.

So I did. After about two weeks of planning, I just got on with it. I had to stop for the April holidays but picked it right back up the minute the kids went to school. I have been treating this novel the way you would a job (well a job with pretty flexible hours). I refuse to be a person that ‘is writing a novel’ but never actually writes.

And the words have just flowed. I’ve been fairly impressed with how smoothly it has all gone. What is so bloody difficult about writing a novel, I asked myself? It’s a breeze.

But then about two weeks ago, the wheels started squeaking, slowing down. I wouldn’t say that the wheels had come off entirely, but the pace was definitely more bicycle than ferrari. And that’s because the path was less easy to follow. Instead of a smooth tarred road, my writing wagon was bumping along over a rutted track until the track ran out all together. I can see, in the distance, where the road is going, but there is an expanse of ground between where I am now and where the road ends that I need to cover. And the only way through are a series of small footpaths that don’t look particularly inviting. 

My nice orderly queue of chapters isn’t nice and orderly anymore. Characters have been speaking out of turn, doing things that they weren’t meant to do. My story is drifting, the tension dropping. It’s all become a bit Fifty Shades of Grey and that was NEVER the intention. I’m starting to wonder if writing is linked to a hormone cycle….

I think I might have to be brutal and simply cut the five or six thousand words I’ve written this week. Store them in a folder for another day, another book. That is like taking a sledge hammer to a beautiful cake you’ve spent all week icing or hitting the delete key on a business presentation you’ve worked into the night to get done.

But for now I need to get my protagonist on track. I don’t mind if her story weaves a bit and she doesn’t follow my original chapter ideas. It’s her life after all. Ultimately, the ending will still be the same, it’s just her journey to get there will be a little different.

Indeed, not dissimilar to my writing journey.



13 thoughts on “The writing journey

  1. I love the idea of it all becoming a bit 50 Shades of Grey….mind you, you could do worse, EL James is a multi millionairess now! Sounds as if you’ve done brilliantly so far, and from what I know all novelists run into trouble at some point in the process. Maybe taking a break for a week or so would let you come back to it with fresh eyes? I wish you all the luck and look forward to reading it one day (and I can say I knew you before your bestselling novelist career).

  2. Melissa says:

    Loving your belief in this NVG 🙂 So you can absolutely say you knew me before I was a best selling novelist.Because I will be one (secretly I don’t stand a chance, but if I say it enough times maybe it will come true)

  3. Potty Mummy says:

    As you know, am at a similar point myself – although it;s taken me considerably longer to get there and with somewhat less of a plan. Well done for getting so much down on (metaphorical) paper so quickly – you’re clearly far more organised than I am!

  4. Anna Croft says:

    Hello. Thanks for the Blog. We are seriously thinking of relocating to York from Reading. Juggling getting there seems insurmountable at times….. With jobs/schools/selling the house and so on…..your blog is making the whole thing more real! Thanks Anna

    • Hi Anna

      We used to live about 30 minutes from Reading. We were lucky as jobs weren’t an issue – my husband stayed doing his job in London and he commutes from York a few days a week. The rest of the time he works from home or travels abroad. It takes 2 hours on the train from York to London. Many people commute daily. The schools in York are fab. And living here is brilliant. If you need any other advice please get in touch. Good luck with it all!

  5. You go girl!
    Looking forward to seeing you at BritMums and make sure you take adventure of seeing angent.

  6. judithkingston says:

    I think putting those 5/6000 words away for another novel and another day is a very good idea – and that;s not hitting the delete key, that’s just recognising that it was a lovely cake for the wrong birthday. Stick it in the freezer and bring it out when the right birthday comes along. (Hm, taking the metaphor too far now perhaps).

    The most recent book I wrote, I had planned out quite roughly, only to realise after I had written all 70.000 words of it that I had made the wrong character the protagonist. *head desk* I have now learned my lesson and will carefully outline the structure and research the particular genre to within an inch of its life before I start writing. I just can’t wait when I have an idea. I am v impressed that you plotted out each chapter before you started, sounds like you’re completely on the right track.

    Hope you make it through the waste land soon, keep going!

  7. Have you heard of the snowflake method? A friend of mine used it and found it was an ideal way to help her stay on track and keep up the momentum. Good luck with this project!!

    • I have heard of it – and did start to look at it, but then moved onto my own, rather more chaotic approach. Just managed to get to the 45k word mark and feels as though I am getting there

  8. […] While there, I decided to capitalise on the writing course I had recently completed by deciding to write a novel. Which I did. Seventy thousand words in four months. I wasn’t pleased with what I had […]

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