Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Mired in Gloop

I guess this shouldn’t surprise me. Without revealing too much there has been a change in the status quo this year, and it would be unnatural for it not to affect the way I feel about myself and my creativity. Having my own space in January was like being given a little safe haven, free from worries, of reminders, of anything that squashed my spirit. I felt at peace and full of energy, and it showed in my redrafting – I rattled through six chapters in the evenings and weekends, and improvement showed in my words. Whoop-de-do, I thought.

But back in the same old, same old, and it sadly shows. Being at home for me feels like being trapped in a soft cage of my own making… It is hard to explain without being too personal. I know the door is open; I know I could walk through and out at anytime, and yet I can’t. Perhaps I want to be Rapunzel. Perhaps I am Rapunzel.

Hm. Maybe it is time for a haircut.

But back to writing. The only time over the last week when I felt truly inspired and enthused with my writing was working on my query letter. I’ll probably do another post about that at some point, as the query is such a daunting prospect that it needs a category all of its own. It is slowly coming together though, and mainly the thing I am working on is a short 150 word ‘punchy’ synopsis of my story to go in the letter. Bloody tricky! In truth I would rather lick the road than write a query letter. It has taken me A LOT of chocolate to get this far.

The other thing I have been enthused on recently is expanding the 150 word synopsis to a full page. Some agencies ask for a one-page synopsis, and I want it to be ready just in case. Oh I wish I did this at the very beginning, instead of scribbling a plot that went something like ‘beginning, blankness, end’. Next time…

This brings me neatly to the main thing that is worrying me concerning writing. Have I told the right story? Honing the synopsis has revealed to me another story I could have told involving these characters, and I am really panicked about whether I have plumped for the right tale. The other story idea is basically how this tale is introduced… so it’s not like it could be a prequel or a sequel – I only get one shot at an introduction. And it bothers me, as the other way is also good… (Note the word ‘also’ – how lovely that my subconscious believes in my story better than I do!)

And then alongside all that, I have reached chapter 17 of the redraft, and am planning a coup. It doesn’t know this yet, but chapter 17, 18, 19 and 20 are going to be totally restructured. They are going to be brought into the present tense if it kills me (my writing loves the past tense and is happiest rolling around with the word ‘had’). There is a new bit going in, and it is all going to be fun to write. I keep telling myself that, as the rest of me is unconvinced. The overall plot and ending will not change though – this bit will just make it better. Maybe I need some cheerleading pompoms.

10 comments:

musicobsessive said...

Unfortunately, it doesn't end at pompoms but also contemplates unfeasibly short skirts and locking yourself away with ‘My Sharona’ to practice, so let’s not go there. I think you are suffering from what the literary world calls ‘cold feet’. At some point in time you are going to have to let go of your baby and let it stumble into the real world by itself. I’ve got to do this eventually with a real baby and believe me, a book ought to be easier…but somehow it isn’t.

Nevertheless, don’t worry about the ‘other tale’ – it’ll keep. Finish your last few chapters and get the thing sent off. You may be amazed by how it swims all by itself!

Karen said...

What musicobsessive said - but get some pompoms anyway. Just saying that word makes me feel more positive.

Seriously I know what you mean about telling the right story - halfway through a previous novel attempt I suddenly realised my main character's best friend's story was far more compelling than hers and gave up. I may go back to it one day!

Good luck with the final restructure :o)

Donna Hosie said...

I understand this so well. Good luck with the re-drafting.

Fran Hill @ Being Miss said...

Maybe you could play around with putting the other idea into a short story. Good luck with it all - keep fighting the gloop.

Sarah said...

Way to keep pressing on, Jayne! I think it's times like this that separate writers from folks who like to talk about it. : )

I ended up restructuring my story when I'd almost finished it. I'm still working through the revisions from that change. It was worth it for me. I knew the change would be better. (It doesn't mean I wasn't frustrated with realizing I was that much farther from finishing, though!)

I'd get the pompoms for you myself, but I'm afraid the sight would be more demoralizing than anything...

Jayne said...

Hi Martin. *sings My Sharona*
You are always so encouraging - thank you for that! Yes I totally think I have cold feet - I'm at the point now where I think my writing is awful. Keep calm and carry on should be my mantra. In fact, I should buy myself the mug. *combines retails therapy with motivational quotes*

Jayne said...

Hi Karen. I seem to have a hazy memory of making pompoms from juinor school - or at least making a mess with multi-coloured wool. I quite fancy making some again now, come to think of it... or I fancy making a mess!

Thanks for the good luck wishes. The restructure is fun, but seems to stretch out into infinity. I think I am writing my own version of the Never Ending Story. Telling the right story does worry me... I think with this book it is the right characters - my worry is more the way I have revealed their world, so to speak. But I guess that will come to light when all is finished! Eek.

Jayne said...

Thanks Donna! Good to know others experience the same feelings. :)

Jayne said...

Hi Fran. Yes I was thinking of that... the only problem is that it uses the same characters, and is an 'alternative' version of how they met, but still the pay-off is pretty much identical. And yes – still gloop wrestling at the moment!

Jayne said...

Thanks Sarah! And yes... I think times like this prove writing is almost a compulsion. Gosh restructuring at the end – I can imagine how frustrating that must have been, but definitely worth it once you can see the improvements. My own restructuring isn’t the tale, but the way I tell it! I also have to write a new chapter – have to eliminate the ‘tell’ from my ‘show’. :)