Friday, November 19, 2010

Novel Madness

I know I'm going kinda crazy, when I find myself having family conversations about murder, fictional murder I hasten to add, of the novel variety!  'Novel' mind you, is no longer a word that I have a liken to, as my 'Novel' feels anything but novel to me!

With just about 1,500 words to go this week from my current target @ Week 7 of 70,000 words, and the rest of my life falling in around me, so too sadly, is the world of my novel. 

There seems to be as many unanswered questions as there are unwritten words. I have discovered that I have a problem with the plot, well actually more than one.  But before I give up all hope and accept entry into the world of absolute craziness, and I still hold on to some faint possibility that both the novel and I can be saved, I revert to the people that are always there for me, and no, I am not talking about friends (who are wonderful), I am talking about family, the people who have no choice but to stick with you even if you are completely nuts.

Now I figured in the earlier days, around the 20,000 word mark, that problems with the plot were things that I could work out as I went along, being someone with imagination and all.  To be fair, I did sort out a couple of things, and managed to throw in a few safely nets, with some subtle innuendos, that could prove to be something or nothing at all.

However, after nights spent without sleep solving nothing, and days/nights when I finally got to the keyboard and managed to write, after having some very long conversations with the dog (Benson is his name), and enjoying his many sympathetic looks, I finally had to revert to 'The Family'.

Not wanting to let me down, they came up with many suggestions the other night, one wasn't bad and kinda sorted half of a problem even though it meant a good many changes.  All members of said family wanted a dedication at the start of the book to them, especially my son, who was convinced of his genius by the end of night one!  So enthused by the wonder of my own family, I went at the 'Q & A' session again last night.

The ideas that came from the dinner table, with a feast I might add of spaghetti bolognese (using the last bit of pasta in the cupboard as I can't remember when I did a proper shop and I don't have time to cook anything these days that can't be done in a hurry), were so wild, wonderful and nuts, that I wondered why I had never tapped into this resource before (like before I started to write the blasted thing).

After a while though, they started to get ideas beyond their station in life. My daughter telling me about how JK plotted all the Harry Potter books before she attempted to write even the first novel, and that maybe I should consider learning from this exercise.  Sensing that the troops were getting a little bit uppity for my liking, having probably put in somewhere in the region of about 200 hours of hard work to date myself, and they on the other hand having only thought about my novel for about 20 minutes in between mouthfuls, I decided that unless I wanted a murder of the very real variety on my hands, I should take the colander that was used for the spaghetti, put it on my head and leave the table immediately.

So I finally sat at my keyboard and put some changes to part of yesterday's words, still with many unanswered questions and the prospect of a series of changes in an effort to solve at least some of the plot deficiencies, a 1,500 word target for the following day, a reread of 70,000 words with rewrites over the weekend, an ambition to work out how the next 25,000 words should unfold over the next 3 weeks, along with a prologue, a full reediting, and a pitch for the novel, so that I might actually feel mid December, that I have had a relatively worthwhile reason for having deserted my said family, paid more attention to the sympathetic dog than anyone else, ignored Christmas, food shopping, house cleaning and anything else for that mind, that might have normally been part of my existence, including walking, cooking, reading, etc etc, and that I can at the end of it, hold my head up with pride, without the colander still on it, and say," it was all worth it!"

(The above rant is a necessary component of any prospective return to NOVEL writing in the foreseeable future!) 


  1. Colanders on heads is a well known technique for filtering ideas!! Sounds like great work and great progress is being made!!

  2. Colanders are very underated I agree, but those spiky yokes that got stuck into it whilst my back was turned are giving me a right headache!

  3. Wow - you are doing this thing all out. Best of luck with it - I'd probably write anything to fir the word count and then leave all that head wrecking plotting bit for draft mark two, but you want it to be just write first go. It sounds like it's going to be good in any case!

  4. Thanks David. Got major side tracked today either way with problems. I am going to finish out my current chapter in the morning and fire 1500 words on the page come what may. Then I'll take a deep breath and take it from there! Thanks again, starting to get use to the colander on the head!!!


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