Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Bikes, snowdrifts and procrastination

It's been ages since the last time I tried to write a novel. With everything going on in my life - first a baby, now another one on the way - I usually just stick to short stories because I can finish them in a timely manner before something breaks the thread of my concentration.

I'm going to try though, mainly because writing short stories feels like playing in the fun pool to me: satisfying, but all the important stuff is happening in the big pool.

The last time I tried writing something it was for National Novel Writing Month a few years back: a novel called "Nine Apple Pips". 

Ungerminated seeds, unfinished novel

It was kind of climate dystopia/detective story that I'd been kicking around for a few years. It was a bad time to try: I'd just been promoted and we were waiting on baby number one. I was also a lot, lot less experienced that I am now and I didn't appreciate two important things:

1) Writing to the clock like NaNoWriMo asks you to do isn't me. It probably works really well for some people, but I find that stories sit in the back of my head as I slowly write them and make much more interesting connections as I go. Racing forward eliminates that and encourages some of my most annoying faults like overusing semicolons. If I'm not concentrating, then my dialogue suffers and, it being against the clock, there's no time to fix it before going on to the next bit. I went through the old files - about 20k worth before I gave up - and spent a good solid hour editing the first page.

Not conducive to grammar; not fun either

2) Proper preparation before starting is everything. The novel was way too dark and bleak (tells you how easy the promotion was going!) and without forward planning and a little tonal balancing, it was turning into an interesting but not fun read. Again, grimdark novels have their place and their audience, but it doesn't really work for me.

Just an occasional ray of sunshine...

Anyway, I've just realised that, in writing this blog post, that I'm procrastinating again. The planning's done: the stage is set and the actors, while not knowing every line, are ready. Time to get started I think.

One last procrastination: Thanks for all the kind feedback about "The Biking Man" story. For some reason, posting it lead to a doubling of page views for the day, so clearly there was something about it that people really liked. Bikes, perhaps? Perhaps "Nine Apple Pips" would've been better with bikes. Perhaps the current effort would be!

No comments:

Post a Comment