Sunday, 31 October 2010

Finish writing your book

This evening, I found myself looking over my blog and feeling depressed. One reason I keep a blog is so that I write regularly. It's good practice and sharing the things I have stumbled across and explored keeps me excited and motivated.

So what depressed me? In the course of writing this blog, I have started and semi-abandoned about five different stories. Semi-abandoned because I haven't given up on them, precisely. It's just that between about 20,000 and 30,000 words, I've sort of run out of steam and hit a temporary hiatus. Or I have got excited by something different.

First there's my spy romance - that was my first writing start, a Georgian spy romance. I researched it to death but I couldn't get the writing to come real. So then I moved onto a contemporary vampire spy romance, but I was struggling to make my hero well... vampy enough and to get into the head of my heroine. Then there's my selkie romance... that starts quite strongly, but then I get a bit stuck. What next? A failure of imagination.

I am DETERMINED not to abandon my current work: Perdita Moon, my heroine does seem real to me. I'm not getting too bogged down in research and I'm not trying to force myself into a formula. I'm just seeing where my fingers (as averse to pen) takes me and I am enjoying the process (though I do need to get the outline out of my head and onto paper).

I think I have learned something along my stop and start journey. I think my craftsmanship has improved and I think I understand myself better as a writer now. I'm not trying to be anyone else, precisely but allowing my own style to emerge which is hugely satisfying.

I remember going through this process with photography - struggling to emulate photographers I admire, who when it came down to it were not me. I have had to find my own mojo so to speak and I have. People come to me as a photographer because they like my style. I'm not even sure I can describe it, but they like it and I like it. I know emotionally when I am going off piste with photography - when I stop enjoying it and it feels like a chore. I'm going to remember that feeling and also remember the satisfaction of feeling good about a typically me image and try to apply that to writing.

I am getting there. I don't want to be hubristic or call a jinx down upon my head but I think my current story is me. The characters have sprung up from my own experiences and I'm not trying to force a style or formula that isn't me. I've found a voice that works for me - for now. One thing that has helped me do that, is writing in the First Person. Having that deep point of view is helping me to walk in the shoes of my character and because of that the right words come out of their mouths and I know how they would and wouldn't behave.

I am committed to completing this one. I REALLY want to do it. I don't want any more blog posts where I write "I'm working on a...." only to look back six weeks later and realise that it is another abandoned project. By this time next year, I want to have a finished piece of work in my hand.

If it's not great, it doesn't matter. Like with photography, I am learning. I am improving my writing style all the time and I'm reading books with a critical eye, noting elements I like and don't like, picking up tips on presentation and composition.

Poor or average work can be improved on. Nonexistent work cannot.

Here are a couple of articles I found when despairingly googling 'Not Finishing Writing Book.'

How to Finish Writing Your Book

20 Inspiring Quotes To Help You Finish Writing Your Book

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