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.