I’ve now caught up with all my favourite blogs, but left very few messages – normal service will be resumed in the New Year.
Julia read the last of my manuscript (gulp). It was horrible to hand over something that I know was so rough and flawed (I’d stalled so often) but it was essential as she has pinpointed exactly why I keep stalling.
A couple of points:
- I’ve made Bangkok my main character … when it has to be in the background and the characters in the foreground.
- I still haven’t made decisions about plot … this is so pathetic because I’ve known this all along, but hoped the subconscious writing fairy would come and put it right. She won’t. The bitch hasn’t shown up, so now I’ve got to do it.
- It was too episodic – I wrote it in episodes because I had no idea where or how to decide where the plot was going.
- I need to think about containing it in time. Again, I knew I was confused about this. Months and months ago I’d printed out a grid to fill in a time plot, but guess what? With no decisions about plot, I couldn’t do it!
I felt a bit wobbly after all this, despite the fact that I knew lots of it. After our meeting, I went somewhat shakily on a trip to a mangrove forest. Lovely M kept asking me if I was okay. Yes I told him, yes, fine. I was wearing my sunglasses and staring out of the minibus window.
Of course, I didn’t think of any of the good things she said (there weren’t any in my mind at that time). I wondered about giving up – no wonder I found it so hard – I was crap and didn’t know what I was doing. I’d spent a year trying to write a book, and I still needed to start back at the beginning. I don’t know what I’m doing still …
I went off in a boat along the mangrove waterways. I’d wangled my way into the last boat with co-Skyros folk, but not those I’d become friends with, so I didn’t need to chat. I had a little think, and fought off some tears. I didn’t have any moment of clarity or anything but after the trip, I bought a diet coke and the group pottered about before getting back on our minibus. I sat back down in my seat in the rear by the window, and I suddenly felt okay again. I felt fairly cheerful; reasonably optimistic and ready to give it another go.
So the good things were: good, very naturalistic dialogue; lots of interesting BACKgrounds; fascinating subject matter because I’ve done something interesting; I can write; she likes my style; I write clearly without trying to be over clever.
And, bless the lovely Julia… she says I can email her my rewritten chapter one!!!