Novel progress - an ongoing post about my latest novel

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This is an "always on the go" diary entry for my latest novel. All updates will be contained here, which may make this a very long entry indeed. The novel currently has no name, but I'll update this as soon as it does.

20th July, 2011.

I know I've missed a week, but believe me there's nothing really relevant that could have been blogged. I'm trying to pick myself up a bit. I am prone to bouts of depression (really, a writer who's depressed? who would have guessed?) and I've managed to find myself in a bit of a funk over the last few weeks, and the writing has suffered.

Wish I could say that I'm back on track, but I'm not. I have some major holes that I believe need filling in my story plot. It's not so much the plot itself, more the thing that makes it a 'story'. I need more difficulty, more angst, more antagonism. At the moment it's like a talking-head novel, and the actual crux of the story needs to be more like a crime thriller. 

So, I have some ideas, and it's going to be interesting as hell to read back these blog posts once I've actually finished the book. Effectively, what I'm thinking of doing is starting the story in a completely different place. So - I already have the plot, I have the characters, and the settings. What I thought was the right place to start the story doesn't really give my lead character, William Stratford, enough difficulty. Everything in the story is just a bit to easily achieved, with no obvious antagonist, and no force really stopping him from achieving the things he has to within the novel. To an extent this made sense during the synopsis writing because Stratford is supposed to be... well, fucking awesome. But he can't afford to be so awesome if there's going to be any drama. And that's what I'm working on achieving, simply by starting the story either earlier or later than originally planned.

So, here we go. Off on another weekly adventure of blue sky dreaming.

5th July, 2011.

Oh hell, here I am again. Er, right. All is going fairly well. Having a few difficulties with not having prepared enough, which I'm feeling sheepish about. All in all, though, it's coming along nicely. The novel, that is.

I made the mistake (which turned out to be an excellent mistake) of writing down the timeline of the story through from the POV of the antagonist - not in order to produce an anti-synopsis, but to try to see what was going on in the background with that character. When I got to certain places, however, I realised that he was refusing to do the things I asked of him. He just plain flat refused me. Bastard! 

Which now means I have a radically different ending to the novel. Hey-ho, I know it's better to do this now than to redraft the whole novel at a later stage. I really can't abide the thought of changing plot once the whole thing is written.

I'd say I'm on course for still getting the whole thing written (first draft) by September time. Then it's researchville for me, after a serious colonic shower of editing.


28th June, 2011.

Here I am, seven days after my first entry - which is a coincidence since I hadn't planned on this being a weekly thing. Hmm, sounds good though. Let's see how long it lasts.

The original concept for diary keeping, before computers came along and turned it upside down, was a highly personal way of either keeping tabs on life, or venting to some sort of inner fairy godmother. An online diary is somewhat different, however, in that you're no longer talking to yourself, and you have an audience. As a result, I know I should try to be interesting, but forgive me if some of what follows is self-indulgent rather than necessarily for you. I do love you though. Honestly!

The important news is that I have now begun writing! I have  completed all the planning and preparation needed for beginning my novel, and as of yesterday, I am now properly writing. Go me! (As the kids say, or at least used to.)

For the first time, however, I find myself racked with First Chapter Blues. Oh no! I can only imagine that this is experience - stabbing me in the back. It is forcing me to dissect everything I'm writing, making me identify all those bits and pieces that I've been variably warned about from hundreds of different, and sometimes contradictory, sources. From books, online articles - and even the editors' and agents' websites - I have been forewarned against all kinds of literary slurs, and with those warnings sharp against my brain I'm finding it difficult to put even word one after another without it burning the page up as sacrilege.

Still, I'll get over it. 

Anyway, it's going well, really. I'm also in the process of considering starting a new website dedicated to the novel's hero - more details to come. In the meantime, I should get back to work before the figure in black starts staring at me. I hate that guy.

21st June, 2011.

This seems like a spurious update since I know I don't really have any readers... and still I persist - what a joker I must be! Anyway, call it cathartic if you want, because I'm still going to go for it.

Basically it's all going quite well. My main issue is me. I keep finding reasons not to work as hard as I should, and then I make that thought (that I should be working harder) into something to feel bad about, giving me another reason to not work as hard as I should. Spaghetti and meat balls. Lots of times I just talk and talk about stuff without actually doing it. At the time I think it's worthwhile chatter, but the truth is that it's all just hogwash.

But no, really, everything's going well - I've just finished the story draft (at about version 5, I think), and I'm just starting character profiles. Never really done full profiles for my characters before because I've been afraid of taking away that spark while the fingers are actually at the keyboard. With some maturity, I like to think, I realised that even if I planned my characters, I'm still likely to have the same sparks fly - effectively doubling my fun. The hours just fly by, I can tell you.

That's about it - time to crack on with profiles and then I'm onto chapter planning. Woohoo!

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