Sunday, 11 September 2011
Writing what you love
I've been struggling a bit with writing the last couple of weeks. I put my work in progress, Merely Players, to bed a month ago (though new feedback from beta readers is likely to demand yet more revisions). I thought that my next project would be preparing a new historical romance ready for Mills & Boon's New Voices contest which opens this week.
I've been doing all the right things. I've been composting ideas, outlining a plot. I wrote the first scene and I loved it. Then I wrote the second scene and didn't love it so much. Then I wrote chapter two and sort of enjoyed it but frankly, felt a bit bored.
To cut a long story short, I'm not feeling it. On the recommendation of the wondrous Aimee L Salter, I've been reading Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain. And the word according to Dwight is that good writing starts with feeling. End of. Or rather start of. Because from feeling you have to weave technique, craftsmanship and damn good story telling. But feeling is where you start.
Feeling is what motivated Merely Players. It's an odd book, for a romance. It sucks in themes I really care about and didn't expect to be writing about. The characters mean something to me. I want them to prevail.
Now when I sit down to write I find I'm writing the Daughters of Leda. About women in war, about motherhood and about human cruelty and compassion. Lots of vignettes from the lives of Helen and Clytemnestra. Whispers from a past made up of gorgons and harpies, female power subsumed by a male society. I care about that. It's an awkward patchwork but it means something to me. I feel charged and full of energy when I'm tapping out those stories.
So it is with regret that I'm not going to be submitting to New Voices. It's an amazing opportunity, but I feel like I'm being steered in a different direction at the moment.
And if I'm not writing what I feel, then I'm not writing at all.