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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope every hope and dream held by all my blog followers comes true in 2012. Thank you for reading and commenting on my posts. I treasure all your thoughts and advice and look forward to posting more often throughout the year to come.

2011 has brought some ups and downs and one of the things that has saved my sanity and brought me peace of mind during tougher days has been my writing. Without it I don't know how I would have coped. I love the way it soaks up hours that might otherwise have been spent in aimless despair and much hand-wringing. My favourite escape from reality is fiction. Reading helps enormously. But writing takes me far beyond that washing-machine in my head that scrambles problems round in circles. Sometimes I look up from the laptop at three o'clock in the afternoon and wonder where I've been. And magically, my head is clear and free.
I've reached about 55,000 words in the novel and have lots of new story ideas too. I'm looking forward to starting those and, in preparation, have actually tidied the drawer in my writing-table. I found a lot of Ryvita crumbs in there, even more than are wedged in the keyboard.
I'm going to see the Russian State Ballet perform Swan Lake on Monday and can't wait. The best thing about that day is that I shall be there with my three beautiful daughters. And there couldn't be a better way for me to start the New Year than that.

Wishing you all peace, joy and good health. x

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Am I Normal?

I'm now 37,000 words into the novel and enjoying it almost all of the time. I'm still getting to know the characters and letting the story develop as they do. I've realised this means I shall probably need to re-write a lot of the opening few thousand words, as the tentative start won't always match what comes next. Is this normal?

I've stopped myself from tweaking too much and lingering over one word here and one phrase there, reminding myself I can do all that at leisure when the whole story is finished, however rough it is. As long as there is an entire novel with a beginning, middle and end, I should be satisfied with that as a first draft. That's the theory.
However, in practice, I am still staring at odd bits that don't feel right or looking at yesterday's words and wondering why on earth I thought they were all right at the time when they seem appalling the next day. Is this normal?

I have characters that I can't give up, but I don't know yet exactly how they fit into the story. Only that they will and I haven't found out about all that yet. They all live in the same road and have an impact on each other's lives, even though some of them won't necessarily meet. I worry about these two or three people earning their place and having a reason for being there. Will it happen and should I chop them out (ouch) if it doesn't? And is it normal to have such doubts?
Also, what happens if you like a minor character more than a main one? At this stage, I'm concerned there isn't one who stands right out. Several seem to be jostling for the lead. And how normal is that?

And should I worry about what's normal or just write?

I may know the answer to that, but any advice would be welcomed. Thank you!