Wednesday, 25 July 2012

My Writing Process

I'm back home and mostly unpacked. My parents and brother have gone on holiday without inviting me but since said holiday involves them walking up increasingly high mountains in increasingly bad weather I can't really fault them for that.

Progress on my novel is... progressing. Slowly. A while ago I had a major plot epiphany. And by epiphany I mean 'carnage'. An entire family (including their five employees and an unborn baby) didn't make the cut and took 2/5ths of the plot with them. They were replaced by a veteran, a runaway and a dog and I'm not sure whether the dog is going to be in the final draft. The plot has also been restructured so instead of taking place over ten years it takes place over a couple of months with flashbacks. The heroine meets her second love interest when she arrests him, not when he tracks her down after being paid to retrieve and bury her body (reports of her demise were greatly exaggerated) and meets her first love interest (for the second time) it's because he's trying to take said prisoner and she isn't having it not because... actually I never got round to plotting that part.

The old novel was an accumulation of odd scenes I'd thrown together, scenarios I'd written, possibilities I'd made up. Some of them worked and some of them didn't. Some of them worked as a standalone episode but not in this novel. Like, the story arc of my character working in a stable for a while was fine but if her first love interest was in charge of a sizable chunk of the army then wouldn't that make their relationship kind of awkward and unequal? Wouldn't it be better if she was the blue-collar court-mandated law enforcements to his spiritual holy order of knights? Relationship dynamics have changed, backstories have been temporarily withheld to improve pacing, death scenes have been hastily written before I got too attached. It's been tough: I've lost tens of thousands of words of novel. Which is scary, considering I was only at about thirty thousand to begin with. My confidence has been knocked but it'll come back and at least I don't have all these nagging doubts about a plot that just will not fit together.

That started out as being an excuse for why my novel has been going forwards so slowly but it's turned into more of an explanation of my writing process, which is basically to scribble down a whole pile of 'Might Happens' and slowly, painfully sift through for the actual 'Will Happens'. As writing processes go it's messy, disorganised and requires the guesswork of Sherlock Holmes and the patience of poor beleaguered Dr Watson. Much like myself.

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