Tag Archives: Books

A Quick Pre-Work Post

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How dedicated to this blog am I!?

I am currently sat in the canteen at work and my shift starts in 20 minutes. The roads weren’t as bad as expected so have arrived a little sooner than originally planned.

Although I had a productive morning. Dishes done, bins changed and put out, beef in slow cooker ready for tonight’s feast along with my normal getting-ready-for-work jobs.

But the real reason I’m blogging is because I actually did some book work last night. On a work-night!

Am very pleased that I was able to open Chapter 10 and do some editing. I wasn’t quite up to some actual writing, but the read through and little edit helped me to focus on it rather than just watching telly as usual.

I did some good work. Rather than just changing sentences, words and structures, I added notes into the margin. I haven’t done this before, but I am preparing for a future blog post where I will be dissecting my writing process on a whole other level.

The notes I made are thoughts, feeling, choices, decisions and a general commentary on what I’ve changed and why I’ve changed it.

Much happier with it.

So I’ve called that my Second Pass and have realised that the Third Pass is going to be adding more descriptions which will set the scene a bit better. For example, so far I have focused on the main characters and their conversation. But I need to make the secondary characters fit in more.

Looking forward to it!

Right, work is calling.

 

Not-So-Straight-Forward-Morality

It has just occurred to me that in a few days time I will be returning to work. This probably means that there will be less frequent blog-postage.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a lot I can do about it. Work takes up time; and a boy has to pay his bills!

But don’t fret, the January enthusiasm is sticking and I am going to push forwards with this book and its development. I have the WordPress App so can blog on the go; even if this means just a quote or picture. Any ideas that come to me whilst out and about may find their way directly to the blog rather than into a note on my phone.

Today I had a coffee with Alex which turned into a 4 hour conversation filled with gossip, opinions, work and book. It was fab! We completely put the world to rights. We went to a cafe in Llanelli where you can buy art and drink coffee; Gallery Art & Coffee = amazing! (follow their tweets @galleryllanelli) It was also lovely to get out into the Winter air and tread through the snow; driving wasn’t too bad either.

I will attempt to write at least a few nights a week. Think I will carry my diary around with me too, just in case inspiration hits.

Last night I sorted through my time-issue. Four weeks of narrative have been filled and actually do make sense.

I also realised something profoundly obvious that I seemed to miss out of my original plan. A little something new which has invigorated me again to continue writing. Sometimes a writer really does need to exercise the creating-muscle.

It’s so inspiring to make-up something brand new to put into your story. I think the only reason I miss these things out of my plans first time around is because I have quite a large cast of characters in this novel. It is easy to miss a beat for some characters sometimes. But then it’s also very exciting when you realise you have missed a moment for that character and you find a way to do that character justice by writing something good in for them.

Look at me, talking as if these characters are alive. But they are, you see; in my head.

Last night, I also found the voice of The Collector; a character that is going to make their first appearance in a few chapters time. A character that I must confess I haven’t given too much thought too.

Let me explain. I know their purpose. I know their direction. I know where they end up at the end of this novel. I know their motivation. I know their tastes. I know where they live. I know the type of person they are. I know where they’ve come from. I know what’s driven them to this point. I know what will ultimately be their undoing. I even know where this character will be after this novel…

But last night, I found their voice. I found how they speak and what kind of things they would choose to speak about; the mere fact that they choose to speak the way they do was a breakthrough. This is going to be a calculating character and one that I didn’t realise until last night I am very excited to write for. They are somebody who withholds themselves from people in the most basic ways. And I know why, and cannot wait to explore that with the reader.

This of course makes them more difficult to write; but all the more fun!

It’s interesting that the characters with a not-so-straight-forward-morality are the ones I enjoy the most. I had one of them in my last novel and still to this day love him so much! I vow to one day do that story justice purely in order to do justice to that character; a man who is ambiguous at the best of times. If I do my job right, you will never know where you are with him; you will always be second guessing him and his motives and I loved writing that!

To me, The Collector is going to be similar in tone; although I think perhaps a bit more bitchy…

After all this talk of characters, I find myself struggling slightly to find the voice of the Lord of The Wood. He needs to click into place for me. Again, I know his history, motivation, where he ends up, how he ends up there, what he has to say… but not how to say it. I think it may be a case of just starting the chapter and pressing on.

Maybe his voice will find me.

Lord of The Wood

Chapter 10 is a strange one.

I often find that when I’m writing a chapter based on ‘the plan’ the amount of story that I have allotted for that chapter spills out into others.

For example, a few chapters back I had an important conversation planned between Crystal and her aunts. It is a vital scene and it ended up being a very long conversation… In fact, I think it ended up taking almost an entire chapter.

That sounds like a lot but remember this is a children’s book.

I love that conversation. The characters really found their voices. And for that reason it stands alone from the other narrative that I had planned to accompany it. The same thing has happened here.

When I restructured the chapters to allow the Hobbit-type-hole to be relocated, ‘the plan’ has morphed with it, and consequently Chapter 9 did not include the meeting with the Lord of The Wood, as intended.

The Lord of The Wood has become a chapter in itself; he says before having actually written it.

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It’s going to be an important chapter that really gives Crystal her driving force for the rest of the novel. Which is why I am going to give it the proper amount of words and time to do it justice.

I am looking forward to writing for the Lord, although I am unsure of his voice yet. I find it helps me as a writer to hear a voice in my head that reminds me of that character. I’m thinking a gravelly Ian McKellen… I’m also unsure if he is Welsh…

This sounds strange but the novel is set in Wales and has a Welsh flavour about it, but these magical/mythical characters trouble me; would they sound Welsh? Or is it a safer bet to assume they would sound like Ian McKellen? More British and expected, I suppose.  I know it sounds strange but if he is Welsh, his speech patterns would be entirely different to that of an RP-English-Posh man. I always assumed he’d have that sort of voice…

At this point, my plan is to also include the conversation with her aunts (that I cut from the start of Chapter 9) at the end of this chapter. In fact I think it will be better there.

I’ve come to the late confusion that sometimes writing conversations between characters is easy; writing silence between them is much more interesting and difficult. When Crystal returns from quite a traumatic night in the woods where she has been utterly changed as a person and has been given a quest and a purpose, the last thing she would want to do is have a domestic with her aunts; despite the fact that they’ve been up all night worrying about her. So I think a short scene with less talking is right for them. I like that idea.

I am concerned though of the chapter after this…

It is mainly due to the restructure. After the chapters in the forest, Crystal has a purpose. And the next time that she acts on this purpose is half-term holidays. I have to move the narrative through 4 weeks of school and home life to get to the next important plot point.

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Having said that, those 4 weeks could be a missed opportunity for some great character moments.

I guess what I’m having trouble deciding is whether to indulge myself in writing those character moments, or whether to just get on with the story. It would probably be the opinion of a copy-editor to just skip it; if it doesn’t move the story forwards…

Perhaps I am missing something in those 4 weeks that will move the story forwards…

Something I haven’t thought of yet…

This is a typical writer’s problem. I’ve got a document open in front of me entitled ‘The Lord of The Wood’ and I’m worrying about the chapter after that! I have enough worries about this chapter, let a lone the next one!!

But I can’t help myself. It has to be right. I have to know EXACTLY where I’m going to write where I am.

In fact, sometimes it’s worse having a plan for a chapter because it seems less interesting, less spontaneous, less exciting! There is something to be said about making a story up as you go along… Although can you imagine that!? Just jumping into a story with no plan? I don’t think I could do it…

Sometimes it’s easy for the author to think and feel that the book that is planned (which for me is in a notebook) is old and stale and is just not worthy of bringing to life. But the life-giving part is so reassuring and reaffirming that all you are doing, all that I am doing, will be worth it.

More self doubt; great.

I think the right thing to do for the narrative is just jump ahead 4 weeks. But I think the right thing to do for the characters is to experience some of those 4 weeks with them.

This might be a fantastic opportunity for me to create a new part of the story that until now I didn’t know that I needed. It may end up being brilliant! Utterly unthinkable to not have it in there! It might feel like I’ve lost the plot; literally.

I sort of want to spend a little time with a notebook scribbling away things that might happen in those 4 weeks, to see if there’s a story there.

I don’t think I’ll be able to write Chapter 10 with this on my mind.

And sometimes allowing yourself to be creating again, rather than just following your own instruction, will liberate you and inject much needed enthusiasm back into what you’re writing.

The Lord of The Wood deserves my enthusiasm.