Three weeks is much longer than I wanted to leave between postings. I hope to not let that happen again. During this time, I’ve been in a flurry of writing. I’ve discovered how much thinking and planning has to happen before words go onto the page of a novel. I suppose that some people just sit down and start writing, but I’m not that sort of person and this isn’t that kind of story. This story is complex and multi-layered and subtle and dynamic all at the same time and if I don’t plan it out well, I’m afraid it will be a disaster. Moreover, when I sit down to write, what I find are all the parts that don’t work right and I have to iron them out before I can go any farther. I had made the protagonist a typical directionless London 19 year old boy, but it didn’t feel right. I could have forced him along the storyline, and it is a storyline that was built for him, but it would have been just that – forced. So, I had to make him more interesting, more sympathetic, more multi-faceted, multi-layered as one would hope an interesting young man might be and it, he, works much more beautifully, more compellingly. And yes, it does still work for my target audience – adult women who are interested in their (the) internal journey.
I’ve been consulting with some very good books on writing which I will list in a future posting. Each author has given me loads of techniques and information and warnings and advice. I have developed a plot outline (better than the one I did before). However, I was not happy with it and I didn’t know why. Sure, it had the requisite number of disasters and turning points to make it interesting, but it was missing the whole point! And I didn’t know how to get “the whole point” out and on to paper. I somehow lost it in the process.
I’d clipped one phrase from a writers’ website long ago and stuck it on an unobtrusive place on my wall – perhaps a bit too unobtrusive – because I’d forgotten it was there. It reminded me to stop leaving myself off the page. And another one challenged me to, well, I can’t remember the exact words, but it’s something like “Be bold, be courageous, and take no prisoners!” I really do have to write what’s in my heart and mind and pull out those scenes that are important to tell and stop thinking about what others will or won’t like.
Last night, I finally found what I was searching for. Lisa Cronin who wrote “Wired for Story” makes it clear that emotions are key in the story. So, upon her suggestion, I started writing an emotional scene-by-scene outline. I’ve only just begun, but I can tell that this is what I was looking for. This is what I need to work on. This is what I feel comfortable doing and it is helping to make the story feel more important. Otherwise, it was just a bunch of acting and disasters and turning points without much CARING about what happens or understanding why.
So here I go again, back to my writing desk.