Monday, January 20, 2014

Back to the drawing board

Today I sit on the precipice of what is for me as an indie author, always the worst moment in writing a book from concept to completion.  The very beginning of the first edit.

This is the moment when you realise (hopefully) that halfway through the book somebody's name changed, that a certain character just disappeared from the plot altogether, and that at times it is doubtful I know what constitutes a full sentence.  This is also the moment when it is necessary to ask myself this one question; What the hell is this book about?

For me, the whole point of a novel is for something to happen.  For something to change.  That may sound simplistic, but I have heard many new writers asking for advice about plot lines and this is one of the most fundamental elements to planning a good plot.  Your protagonist, hero, bad guy, whoever it is you are writing about must undergo some sort of change, must experience the unexpected and the dreadful, so that by the end of the book he/she, and we as the readers, have learnt something.

I, like 309,020 others, signed up for NaNoWriMo2013 and wrote myself silly during November.  I put aside Psychophilia, the book that I was writing at the time to get stuck into the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month.  I hate to fail, and so I tapped away like crazy and got the manuscript finished with a couple of days spare. 

In the author community I have already started seeing some of the other manuscripts written during this time (Hugh Howey, Sand) come to publication.  So I feel quite sorry for my sad little file just sat there waiting patiently for me to give it some attention.  But by the end of NaNoWriMo2013 I was feeling completely skinned alive (see my post here) and needed to take a break.  The manuscript and I had fallen out.  I felt like because I had worked so tightly to a schedule, some of the fun had been ripped out of the writing process.  In all honesty I would have probably written the same number of words had I not been signed up for NaNoWriMo, but somehow the constant word counting and feeling like it was a race to the end, left me feeling a bit high and dry.

So now as I sit here looking at this very manuscript, the cursor blinking at me furiously to make a start, I am even doubting if the plot needs some fundamental changes.  Should I shift the survivors underground?  If I do, their whole lifestyle needs changing.  Should I work more on their clothes?  Where would they even come from?  And I am certain that Anthony Grayson becomes somebody else by chapter five.  So for me it is back to the drawing board.  Not just an edit, but a full overhaul.  The is going to be a long job.

There are some tough weeks ahead..........

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