Saturday, 10 July 2010


Self indulgent musings follow. Read at your own risk.

So. My book. I know this is desperately unimportant to anyone but me but this is my blog and I get to choose what I talk about. So, if you aren't interested in the progress of my novel ( and let's face it, why would you be?) you might wish to skip this posting and wait for the next!

You still here? Well, I'm writing this book. You know this. I've told you already. At the beginning it was going well. I rattled through the chapters and ideas just poured out of me. I had fun learning about my characters, working out what made them tick. I relished beginning to discover how to move the action along by using things that happened to my four protagonists, planning scenes that would allow me to disclose information that the reader needed naturally and without it appearing contrived.

So far so good. Because my original idea changed so radically as the story hit the page, I decided that I should concentrate on the plot in the first draft so I knew where everyone was going and then go back to work on the actual writing once the plot was in the bag. And now I am about three quarters of my way through the first draft. I know where I'm going, more or less and I just have to build up to my climax and then tie up the loose ends.

But then I made a fatal error. I decided to read my work through and see if there any were pointers that I had dropped in to the narrative but had failed to follow through. I sat down on my sofa with a latte, a chocolate brownie and the file containing my printed story so far and began to read. And that's where it all went wrong.

I have read lots of advice from eminent and incredibly successful authors who all say that a monumental dip in self confidence is to be expected, in fact is de rigeur and that I just have to meet it head on. But that's all very well to say when you have a body of published work behind you. Real writers can have their crisis just like me. But then they can look around them, see their own books on the shelf and say, with some certainty, that people have faith in their ability. Then, when they have finished being haunted by their perceived lack of talent, they can pick themselves up and carry on.

I don't have that luxury. There's just me. If I decide that my book is rubbish I have no one to gainsay me. And because I know this is very much a first draft I can't really share it and ask for honest opinions because I know that it is not as it will be.

I have been reading some Rules for Writing written by a bunch of well known authors (as recommended by a fellow fledgling writer.) Some made me feel better - others didn't but tips from Will Self made me laugh. Have a look if you have time. I particularly liked Rule 10 about having a Christmas party on your own.

So I just have to have blind faith and keep going. After all, my aim is to finish and be pleased with my achievement and I'm not a quitter. I need to conquer my own self doubt and just get on with it. After all what does it matter whether it's any good or not? If I finish I will be able to say that in my forties I wrote a novel and I like the sound of that.

1 comment:

Stephanie Millward said...

Do keep the faith Imogen - what an achievement to be 3/4 of the way through rather than at the synopsis stage as I have remained for 5 years - I originally decided not to start my mini novels (2 planned) as I thought my computer was unreliable and might lose them and it would be straightforward on a new pc. (yes I know about back up discs etc)
New pc came and went with a few years and still no progress.
Now got shiny new mac and no excuses - perhaps it will happen for me but how satisfying for you to see the bulk of a real novel that you can tweak .
If it's any help - I had a really tight word limit for the report accompanying my OU assignment .
I wrote what I thought was a perfect report - word count was double aaaargh.
Spent many hours cutting it down which was a fabulous exercise for me to recognise how many unnecessary words I use . Maybe give yourself a target to remove a percentage of words - I have to say although I didn't like removing some of the points I felt were important the report read lots better when severely edited - non fiction of course but might apply.???