Day 2

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I finished my first revised chapter but already I’m asking myself why I am doing this.

I’m not sure if I really have a story to tell.  I enjoy the process of writing and I like setting up individual scenes but I’ve no plot. Perhaps something will come to me..

I’m not sure if I’m sufficiently in love with Jenny to care what happens to her and that can’t be good,

So… should I knock it on the head before I waste any more time?

Anyway – back to work tomorrow so I’ll take a few days to think on it before next weekend.

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Day 1

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It’s Sunday and I’m going to make a start.  Although I have the six chapters I wrote two years ago I intend to change them so much it feels like I’m faced with a blank page.

In my original draft my main protagonist – Jenny had three friends. The book I studied about writing a novel suggested I would get on better if I got to know all my characters. As a result of this piece of wisdom I have three friends I know very well. I know what they look like, whether they are married or single, the ages, the way they speak and their mannerisms. It’s going to be hard to lose two of them but I’ll keep them for a later novel. There’s confidence for you.

Write about things you know. Isn’t that the mantra?  Well I don’t ‘know’ a lot of big stuff.  I don’t have an interesting job. I do clerical work in an office – nothing exciting here although there are certainly some characters that I can draw on. I live an average life in an average house. We don’t go out much because we prefer to stay at home. We don’t have many close friends or a big family. I love music and particularly Bruce Springsteen. Mike and I go to several gigs each tour. I was keen to include his music in the book but my references seem a little forced. I think I am perhaps trying too hard to get Springsteen defences in so he might be going.

So I think it’s more about the little things that I know. I know about having hair that goes frizzy in the rain. I know how to cook chilli con carne. I know what it’s like to own a cat, ride a horse, paint a watercolour, catch a bus. All these small things can be brought in to my book to round out the characters.

So here goes chapter one.

Well…long time no see

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A very long time actually. Just over three years. Yes! that’s three years since I’ve seriously thought about writing a novel.  There’s no doubt that I love writing but I also love crafting and for a while I decided to concentrate on that. I have such a lot I want to cram into my days and I have to work full time as well.

Anyway I suddenly got the urge to try my hand at writing again. I was going to start from scratch but I’ve just read an article in Writing Magazine by Mark Billingham. He says you should finish what you are writing even if you think it’s terrible. So I plugged in the memory stick and started to read.

I see from my last blog that I hated my first chapter. Reading it again years later I think there are good bits in it.

It’s true I have rambled a bit. The descriptive passages are useful for me. They help me set the scene in my head but they aren’t key to the story for the reader.

I’ve made life very complicated for myself by giving my main protagonist three fully drawn friends and quite a detailed back story. I need to cull the back story a lot and take out the detail about two of the friends.

There’s too much dialogue. Although I say so myself, I think I write very natural dialogue but I’ve relied on this too much to tell the story. I need to balance the dialogue with more narrative and action.

It looks like my 8000 words will be nearer 4000 by the time I’ve finished but the whole thing will be better for it.

Along with the book I’m going to start this diary again.  I’m not too concerned about the writing style here. I could get so hung up on the blog that I never get time to do any work on the book itself. These musings are really for me to look back on if I ever get to the end of the novel. It will be interesting to see how I felt at any one time in the process.

So I’m off to cross out half of my original draft!

 

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