Transition Girl

Why transition girl?... Best answered by a quote from the Iliad....."The soul was not made to dwell in a thing; and when forced to it, there is no part of that soul but suffers violence."

Friday, November 18, 2011

the evolving plot

I am adjusting to a new management regime of embracing my inner Buddhist, all to cope with a faulty heart. Is it possible to be regimented and Zen at the same time? I can envisage some radical lifestyle changes in the not to distant horizon.

It is taking me to a better place writing wise. The writing mojo is returning now that my well-being is back on track. All while I countdown the weeks to the second novel being available through online retailers like Amazon just in time for Christmas. It is actually already available now directly through the publisher and I've set up a link on my author website so early purchasers can find their way there:

I am drafting the fourth novel at the moment. It has taken me 30,000 words to find my way on this one. The plot was neatly mapped out when I started drafting but I just have not been happy with how it has been coming together. I've refined my storyboard scene by scene map three times already while I have been drafting trying to figure out a coherent internally consistent story arc. Finally figured out thematically how it might hang together (last week) and, over the last few days, had not one but two eureka moments on how characters interact and introducing one more Point of View (POV) perspective that will give the story flesh beyond bone.

Those sorts of moments are uncommon and incredibly satisfying. As an author, it makes me feel like what I am producing is going to be really good when I have those moments. I really like the way a novel's plot evolves as I write the story. It is a dynamic part of the creative process that no writer should ever fear, a reminder to go where the story is taking you, and explore the possibilities.

After my moments, I prompty refined my storyboard a fourth time and wrote a meaty scene in record time today. Tomorrow I will churn out an extra scene because I am on a roll.

I even had time this week to submit a half a dozen of my poems (yes, I write the short stuff when the mood takes me) to the Doire Press annual fiction and short story competition. I selected my set based on the theme of grief and loss, tweaked them a little, then realised that I write a lot about this theme. Made me wonder why I do that. Opened up a whole new can of philosophical worms to consider.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

procrastination moment 100K

I am now over half way through a ten day stretch not at the day job under instruction to "rest". Rest for me means writing interspersed with lengthy periods of procrastination and sleep.

The sleep has been my favourite kind, filled with vivid dreams, a veritable smorgasbord of ideas for stories. The procrastination has been a mixed bag, watching movies at the cinema, watching dvds and then the landscape gardeners around the house. Four movies in five days, while aiming for seven in ten days. Searching for inspiration.

The writing has been a hard slog. A bit like my heart, I have had no rhythm in the last month.

With the Penitentiary about to be published, I have been working on the sequel (now drafted) and the prequel (being drafted) - the Crusades and the Fall respectively. I decided to keep working on the prequel despite a major distraction of the first round of editorial comments on the sequel arriving late last week. It was at that point I made a threshold decision, the prequel really needed to be substantively drafted to ensure consistency between the first three books that make up the Panopticon series.

Internal consistency is critical (readers will crucify a writer for plot holes) particularly given I've opted to take slightly different approaches to the storytelling in each of the three books. This choice is partly to keep my writing fresh (and entertaining for me) and partly because I personally find it easier to achieve the goal of a self-contained story in each book by adopting this approach. Variety is the spice of life.

I found the Crusades easier to draft than the Penitentiary. First draft was done in less than a year. By then the characters were well established and I was enjoying the story. It also helped that I had a month away from the day job and could write every day. [Aside: it will be interesting to see how readers compare the two books in terms of flow!]

I have found drafting the Fall much harder than I thought it might be. It is the back story on the main character in the series. When I first developed the plot and fleshed out the scene by scene story board, it felt a bit "light" to me. I could have covered the backstory in much less detail in the Pentitentiary but instead chose to write an entire book because the character fascinates me. Figuring out how to round out the story with the depth of the journey for multiple characters has proven so difficult that it has taken me until half way through drafting chapter three to figure out exactly what I want to say "thematically" to connect the characters.

It probably doesn't help that I am being quite ambitious in setting the story over a time span that starts at the dawn of time and ends circa 1879AD. A lot happens in that time! So there has been a lot of procrastination trying to figure out exactly the snapshots on which I want to base each scene in the book. It took me three days to write one scene when I started my ten day break. When the moment of theme epiphany finally came yesterday morning, I wrote two scenes in a day. Hopefully I am over the hump now. Only several more months of writing and procrastination to go...

ps. The galley copy of the Penitentiary arrived for my perusal earlier in the week. Only six weeks to publication. I'm excited.