I have been working on my current novel for a few months now, and am nowhere near where I had wanted to be.
The novel will have 20 chapters, and I am only now starting to write Chapter 6. It annoys me in many ways, because I am tough on myself and don’t like to see time wasted. Yet that is exactly what I seem to be doing. Don’t get me wrong, it is productive time wasted, because I am still writing. Just not on what I should be working on. I often write short stories during the novel-writing process, but they are usually quick flash fiction pieces, but the last month has seen me pen two decent lengths stories that have taken up a lot of my time.
The simple answer is that I just cannot get into this novel. I know what I want, but I can’t seem to get it down on paper.
Without giving too much away, the story is set on a golf course and is basically a fictional biography. Two friends, police officers, are walking the course, looking for a murder suspect, and as they go, one friend starts talking, this turns into a confession of sorts. He starts with his childhood abuse – which his friend knew nothing about – and continues through his life until the present day. We see his mistakes, the dark life he really lives. The drinking, smoking, planting evidence on people to get ahead etc.
It is basically a look at character, and the breakdown of human nature. I guess you could find a similarity (of sorts) with the movie falling down. Every step Michael Douglas takes, seems to push him further and further over the edge, when really, all he wanted to do was get home.
I have had this novel in my head for years, and it has gone through several transformations. In fact, the entire Highway to Hell trilogy was spawned from this one idea.
I love what the novel could be, and I like the way it is going, but I have never really written something so intensely character driven. I guess you could say I am nervous about not doing it well. In the Highway series, I can fall back on the storyline, the characters or the settings to keep things moving if I get bogged down. Here, the relationship is the key. The other thing is, the storyline is kind of Hitchcock by design, as in, I want to give as little away as I can, to keep people guessing, until the very last couple of pages, where the big reveal comes out.
I have those pages already written, and love them.
I am sure I just need to knuckle down and focus on it a little more. Forget my worries and just write what comes to my mind.
What was it that Stephen King says “Write with the door shut, edit with the door open.” (rather, that was what he was told when he was young). I love this quote, and think that maybe it is time I took the advice on this novel. That is how I have always worked in the past… so why not this time?
I am trying to edit as a go on this one too. Chapter by Chapter. I write a chapter, then edit it. I like the feel of it, and know that when I am done, the first draft
will should be pretty tight. I also need to remind myself that this means writing the complete draft will take longer because of the same reasons.
I love this novel, and I love what it promises to show, and think it demonstrates my abilities in a different light to the Highway novels, and perhaps that is it. I want to write it too well, too badly.
Anyway, I have rambled for a while now, and not really made a point. I guess this post doesn’t actually have one, it was more of a brain dump… making space for those ideas that will propel me forward once more. 🙂
I promise, my post tomorrow will be full of points, and questions, and meaningful topics.
Thanks for reading.
7 thoughts on “Frustration Halts Play”
Sometimes you just need to vent, Alex. Writing this down instead of having it eat away at you is probably a healthy thing. I’m sure you will push through.
Thanks Eden, you are right. A good vent is the perfect thing to clear the mind. I think i need to vent a little more on this novel though. ha 🙂
Thanks for commenting.
Let it all out, then you will feel better able to focus. Your story sounds really good by the way, but perhaps because you have nurtured it for so long, you are subconsciously reluctant to put it on paper? I would suggest you let it progress naturally, even if it takes longer than anticipated, because you will be happier with the final product knowing that you have done an excellent job.
I think you could be onto something there Catherine. I want to get it written that I am afraid to actually do so. I just get the feeling that this novel is just fighting me every step of the way.
Can you actually see this guy Alex? Feel what he’s feeling as he reveals all this stuff?? And why 20 as the magic number? Sorry I’m a pantster through and through so I’m wondering whether you aren’t trying to force the story in one way when part of you wants it to go somewhere else?
Andrea, I sent you an email 🙂
Don’t over-think it. You can always go back and make changes later. It’s not like you’re writing on a typewriter, where you’d have to rewrite whole pages if you changed your mind about a certain section. That handy little backspace key and the ability to copy and paste certain parts certainly cuts down on the time spent in editing.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good that you are doing a lot of thinking and planning, but don’t forget to FEEL your characters. What are they saying to you?