Friday, 25 November 2011

Loving The Bones

My novel is going well and that's thanks to the helpful advice from the last post. Thank you! I decided to start afresh and have now completed nearly 17,000 words. I do like this one and itch to get back to it whenever I finish for the day. It's flowing better and the characters are fleshier. I can actually see them and have got to know most of them. I still have moments of horrible doubt and think the entire thing is foolish and pretentious. But then I try to remember that it's still me writing. And I'm quite capable of being foolish and pretentious. So, just as with the short stories, if I don't like what I've written and feel it isn't adding to the telling of the tale or developing the characters, then it has to go.
The hard part of writing a novel is that if I keep going back to make changes, I don't make much progress. So I'll keep pressing on to get the first draft down. And then I can revisit it and start waving my green pen around. All I do now when I begin a session is re-read the last couple of paragraphs and make a few amendments that would, if left, keep bothering me too much. Then I move on, reassuring myself that this is only the bare bones and it's inevitable that they will be a bit clunky and clattery. But I need them before I pack in all the fat and meat and juicy bits. Did I say I have a fixation with butchers? They are in quite a few of my stories and there's one in my novel too.
Anyway, thank you from the heart for helping me make my mind up. The short stories are still coming out too. There's one in this week's People's Friend and Woman's Weekly Fiction Special. I love writing them and will never stop, but managed to spend two whole days this week on the novel, just to prise it off the starting blocks.
I get up early at the weekends now and write in my pyjamas. It's not a pretty sight, but a lovely peaceful time to write before the day starts. It's surprising how many words I can achieve on a quiet Saturday and Sunday. And the virtuous feeling afterwards makes it even more worthwhile.


  1. That's so great to know you're getting on so well with your novel, Joanna. And I think you're right to keep on with the draft and then go back through it. Well done on the short stories too!

  2. Thank you, Rosemary. It is so tempting to keep reading back and correcting. But I agree it's best to plough on and not get too bogged down. There's plenty of time for that later. I'm guessing that the second draft is a longer process than the first. But at least there's a lot to work with and we can be further inspired by the words we have already written.

  3. I think the fact that you are motoring along so well with this one proves you made the right choice. A novel is a long hard slog, and if you don't really want to tell that story then it must be very difficult to put your heart into it. Well done on the short stories too.

  4. Many thanks, Joanne. I feel sure this is the right one. And you're right, it is really hard work, even when your heart is in it. Definitely impossible otherwise.