I came back from Scotland with a marked desire to embark on a big project. I suppose this isn’t something new, but is a desire I have been nurturing for a while. It represents the need to get away from writing what are essentially someone else’s characters, and write my own.
I need something to get my teeth into, a full length novel to help me get my confidence in my ability to actually write something BIG back. Its been a long time since I finished anything substantial in terms of original work, and I need this.
I was reading this article by justine Musk, in which she talks about some writing advice she was given by a teacher:
““Will writing this book change your life?” the teacher asked me. “If the answer is no, then that’s not your real baby.””
If we write our own psychodramas, if we write our way to self=knowledge, then I need something that reflects the place where I am in my life at the moment. A novel that parallels my own journey.
I sat down with my notebook and wrote about the four projects I could choose from: two Victorian novels, one Evenlode book, and one fantasy story. Then I picked one of the Victorian novels and tried to write a little bit in the voice of the protagonist, mainly because I am struggling with making her a three-dimensional character, which is what has stymied progress so far. And suddenly, everything made sense.
This novel is about being who you truly, authentically are.
And that is exactly where I am in life. I am trying to own and be who I really am.
So in order to make the protagonist realistic, all I have to do is write her as me. My voice, my problem, my reactions and interests. Its not the way you are supposed to write a character, but it is a way into creating her in a believable way. This way I can explore her voice and see the story from her point of view. This pretty much buggers up everything I’ve previously written for this project, because its all third person, and varies the voices through each of the three main characters. But that approach didn’t gel, which is why it didn’t get any further. Now maybe I can find a way in.
And then all I have to do is to stick with it until its done.
I have no idea whether this will work. Maybe this time next year I will have completed another Evenlode novel instead. You never know. What I don’t want is to still have four unfinished works in the pipeline by then. I need to finish something. So I’m going to ride this wild donkey side saddle, and see where it takes me.
Wish me luck,