Monday, 18 May 2009

The Great Big New Pain in the Arse

Far too long without an update- naughty sen, to your bed.

The last week or so has been quite a difficult one writing-wise. When I sat down to start on the new project I was immediately met with a big fat problem, namely, whether or not to write it in the first person. While I was finishing Bad Apple Bone and this project was beginning to form in my mind, I always imagined it to be in the first person. I wanted to try writing an entire book in that style, mainly because when I've done it in short stories I've found it quite enjoyable, and a couple of my favourite writers almost always write in the first person- namely John Connolly and Michael Marshall Smith.

So when it came to the first day of writing, I sat down all ready with my character's voice and the opening scene and... I completely dried up. It felt terribly forced and awkward, and I didn't like it. Mostly, the character just sounded like me. Like me writing a book. This was not what I had planned at all, and even worse, my brain was already re-writing the chapter in the third person. I was crippled with indecision- should I soldier on with my original plan, despite how wrong it felt, or abandon most of my plans for the book and keep to my usual style?

In the end, I did the only sensible thing and wrote the chapter in both the first and third, to see how they compared (this was, by the way, an incredibly painful thing in itself. I am really fucking lazy you see, and writing the same bit twice drove me up the wall). I couldn't help noticing how much easier the words came though, and how much more enjoyable it was the second time around.

So I think I've learnt some things from this:

1) You can't pick a style of writing just because you like the sound of it and because you admire people who do it well- it may simply be inappropriate for the project.

2) I've spent two years on Bad Apple Bone essentially learning how to write (successfully or not I cannot say) and that was in the third person. Perhaps I should use what I've learnt, and carry on improving as much as I can.

3) There will be another time for a big first person story. Yes there will. Possibly in one huge mad rush in November.

I'm on to the second chapter now, the characters are getting to talk to each other and I'm finding out strange things about them. There are lots of juicy bits about it that I love, I just need the framework to make itself a little more obvious, and it's still being difficult and fairly unpredictable (I only realised fairly recently that it all makes a lot more sense if one of the main characters is dead) Not to mention that the sodding thing doesn't have a sodding title!

But I think I'm getting there. Chapter 3 is in my sights.


  1. I think it's just so awesome that you're committed to keeping on with the writing. Keep on flexing whatever muscle it is within you that creates that magic and eventually it should get easier! I'm excited to see what you come up with.

  2. P.S. The kids felt awfully sorry for poor Albie. I read it to them a few weeks ago, and it's stuck in their memory because Aleta mentioned it just the other day...I made a particularly large supper and she asked if I was fattening them up like Albie. :D

  3. lol! Aw thanks Lily, that's brilliant! I love that you read them Goose, and I hope that it hasn't put them off their dinners too much :D

    Your support is appreciated as always x

  4. Aawww, poor Albie (I love that name btw, how did you come up with it)?

    Once again, I am so pleased that you have found something creative to do with your time that you seem to love despite the frustrations and insanely jealous that it's not me! When can I read BAB?

  5. You know, I have no clue where Albie came from. Usually I agonize over names and can't think of any, but he randomly popped into my head while I was thinking the story through. Weird.

    I'm umming and ahhing about whether or not to expose Bad Apple Bone to the light of day before it's been redrafted- it's still got odd bits and pieces that make no sense. Mainly though, I think I'm just putting it off... ;) If I drag my feet over it too much, I could give you my novella to read as a stop-gap thing? It's only half the length and may (or may not) make more sense.

  6. 10 days without an update sen, even i update my blog more than that and I'm a sad sack of shit with nothing to say!!

    UPDATE!! NOW!!

  7. Whoops! I'm probably really in trouble by now, aren't I?