Saturday, 26 March 2011

A bit of a ramble about writing

What do you think of the new look Blog? I love the serene colours and of course I had to use flowers as my background as I do love floral photography. Sadly, the stunningly gorgeous background image is not one of my own.

This last week has seen quite a few of my writerly friends struggling to write whether it is finding the time due to other demands in life, fear of committing to the page because of shaky confidence, fear of committing to submitting work, or like me the feeling that whatever I write is not good enough and never will be. All these reasons take on an enormous soul destroying grip, and there are many times when it would be easy to say 'enough' and give up altogether. But if writing was easy, everyone would be doing it. So, we plod on doing our best to shut out the demon that nips at our confidence. 

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter make it easer to share these woes and to bolster each other's flagging confidence, without it I think I would have given up a long time ago. I have been very lucky to find three like-minded romance writers and we have formed a very close working relationship to critique each others' work, exchange writing information and to be there when we hit the highs and lows that inevitably come with the writing territory. It doesn't make the writing easier but it is good to have the support network.

My work-in-progress (WIP) is sitting at just over 14k. It was growing in wordage but there was something very wrong with it. A lightbulb moment revealed that I had backstory, conflict - both external and internal, what I didn't have was a story. I had a set of circumstances but I had no idea how to bring these circumstances and my hero and heroine together. This moment of revelation was all very well but the problem of sorting it out hung over me like a black cloud. I couldn't see beyond it.  

It was a truly awful moment. Every word dragged its feet on to the page, some good, some bad, some indifferent. I had lost my connection with my characters. I was getting bored with my own writing. Not good. Something needed to be done before the damage was irreparable. Okay, it was a first draft and first drafts are allowed to be bad but sometimes instinct needs to be taken notice of.

Close to tears and heading for bed the answer presented itself. Voice. It was the voice that was wrong. I had been too busy trying to make my story fit to certain specific guidelines and technicalities, trying to emulate what I'd read in the genre I'm aiming for, that the essence of my writing style was lost therefore making it harder to write my hero and heroine's story.

The rewrite began the very next day with a lighter, less intense tone, and hopefully my real voice.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

It's been a while...

It's been a while since I've Blogged. I've begun a few but couldn't quite get the tone right so they sit abandoned in the Drafts folder.

What do I want to say? To be honest I haven't a clue which pretty much sums up my writing at the moment. I entered the Harlequin Valentine themed Secret Baby competition. For this competition all you had to do was to write the first 1,000 words of a longer story. This I did and was surprised at how easy those 1,000 words came to me. With some editing it was ready to go. My entry didn't receive many comments but the comments it did receive were very encouraging and positive, so I decided to go with the story for a while and develop it.

When I wrote the initial 1,000 words I hadn't given much thought to what happens later. So, it has been a frustrating few weeks trying to work out a conflict that is believable and can be sustained for the length of the book. The details aren't all there yet, not on paper anyway. It could be that they are lurking somewhere in the murk of my brain just waiting for the trigger to allow them to spill themselves onto an eagerly waiting blank sheet of paper.

Thankfully, I have the support of my critique group. They have questioned the reasoning behind why my characters behave in certain ways, and it has really made me think deeper about their motivations. It's not all clear yet, but it is getting there.