Wednesday, 21 March 2007

novel racing - limping along

I'm still hanging in there with the novel race although I did hit a brick wall this week. I think it was the whole proposal thing. I couldn't think straight for days and then got side-tracked into reading lots of text books, and writing poetics instead of fiction. I have managed to get back on track, but am only just limping along.

It's strange how it goes like this, this writing process. That sometimes it flows and flows and I can't write fast enough to get it all down, and then it stops. Abruptly. The ideas are all there but I can't make any decisions as to how to tell the story. Where to start? At which point in the scene? Whose perspective? What am I trying to show/say here? Etc., etc., etc.

I'm working on three chapters concurrently at the moment, unable to decide which bit of the 'big' story should go in each of the 'little' ones. It's a bit of a juggling act only I keep losing track of the clubs. Still, one we go, and the word count has shifted at last. I keep having to repeat, "You have permission to write crap now and fix it later," the mantra of the desperate.

I look at the novel racers and am half inspired and half reduced to tears. Their word counts rise swiftly, some have books out there on shelves already. It all seems so far away for me, at a quarter of the way through, especially with some of you - you know who you are! - mocking up book sleeves so beautifully! I'm still grappling with how to write a novel, let alone what I want it to look like - although you've got me thinking now...

But hang on! A quarter of the way through - well almost. That's good isn't it?! There's a long way to go, but there's also a nice fat pile of words on my desk (mostly crap admittedly - but I will fix that later!). I'm going to put the kettle on and celebrate!

7 comments:

liz fenwick said...

You're doing really well keep writing and enjoy the tea!!!

A. Writer said...

You're doing really well!

Everyone writes at their own pace. I'm not even a quarter of the way through my novel racers WIP. I thought it was about time I did something with my first WIP as it's been sitting on my desk gather dust for months. Mocking up a cover for the first WIP was me putting off doing the editing that it so badly needs!

Keep up the good work!

hesitant scribe said...

Thanks for all the encouragement folks! It really does help. And it helps me to see you lot working so hard at it too.

The book cover is something to think about though! I've been looking through my shelves to see what sort of approaches I might take... yes it is procrastination, but it's useful in that it is creative!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I agree that everyone writes at their own pace. When I wrote my first draft, I turned out around 2000 words a week, most weeks, which is faster than some but slower than many. Some people seem able to write twice that in a day and I know what you mean about how that can be inspiring and demoralising all at the same time. Now that I'm revising it seems just as slow, I've been working on my second draft for six months now and although I can see that I've made some progress there's still a very long way to go. And then there will be a third draft... I'm aiming for something submittable by the end of 2007 but I know there are no guarantees and I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't make it. I'm taking your approach too: focus on and celebrate the progress, and most of all, keep at it! We'll get there in the end.

JJ said...

Lisa, I think you're doing brilliantly. You're juggling lots of things, and you should give yourself a break. I really don't believe that the repetition of the mantra 'permission to write crap' makes you desperate. If it sends the demon away for any length of time, it's okay by me!

Just like Liz's question 'what are your characters reading?' dreaming up book covers makes you think about the book that you are writing and the themes you may be conveying. It's not necessary, but it's a jolly good way of keeping up incentive as well as asking your self what it is that you are writing about.

Don't be disheartened; brick walls come and go. The race will mean you pick yourself up and get on with it again.

Hang in there. (God, hark at me, demon queen that I am!)

hesitant scribe said...

zinnia,I started off trying to follow Stephen King's advice and write 1,000 a day, but just couldn't keep it up with all the other stuff I have to do too! 2,000 a week sounds like a much more reasonable goal!

As for book covers, JJ, I agree - it helps to maintain a focus of what the 'end product' will be like. I think the proposal helped with that too, and I realise I've kind of taken on a mammoth task here - but then I love a challenge.

All in all, we're not doing bad at all are we?!

Anonymous said...

Stick at it Lisa and don't beat yourself up about it - you'll get there in the end!!