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Too many cooks, not enough chefs.

When you make the decision to write, whether it’s a: story, novel, novella, or short fiction piece, staying with the idea long enough to actually accomplish something can be easier said than done.

When I was younger I always held to the belief that authors spent all their time locked in their bedrooms, writing away on one story idea at a time. Almost as though their Muse wasn’t slightly demented and politely handed them one idea which they completed; before handing them the next.

Writing was a peaceful, pleasant occupation. Authors wrote, drafted, edited, finished and casually moved onto the next piece. As I grew up I realised that was a delusion. Writers’, if my own experience was anything to go by, were caffeine filled Demi-Gods with severe attitude problems who killed characters only to break their readers hearts. They invested months, if not years, developing the story and countless nights spent in front of the computer bringing forth life only to crush it with a demonic flick of the fingers.

I also discovered the Muse, at least mine, probably has a drinking problem and likes to annoy me. I’ll go weeks without an idea for a story and then BANG! Five at once, all certain they’re the ones to propel me into the stratosphere, making tens of dollars for two years’ or more of hard work.

Determining which idea has the strongest frame and foundation isn’t one of my strong suits. Recently I’ve been looking back with nostalgia on the 80’s and 90’s. The era of shoulder pads, slutty novels and beachbusters. At least, that’s what mum called them.

Big, glossy paper backs that you could take to the beach and that it didn’t matter if you trashed them with sand and/or cocktails. Big books, painted with vivid, colourful characters, luxurious landscapes, million dollar homes and all the sex, drugs and rock and roll you could possibly want.

Given my fantasy series needs a lot more work before it will ever see the light of day and also given after 9 months of wrecking it twice, I’ve decided I need a practice run. A story that is fun to write and that I can take my time getting right, learning the proper tools I’ll need to do Darkened North justice.

My epic fantasy series will be written, but choosing to write a trilogy as my first novel is an over reach for me. I want to work on something I can do faster than that. Plus, I need to research a lot more to really build the world effectively.

I’m not sure what idea I’ll settle on. What I a sure of however is I plan to utilise a plotting method called The Snowflake Technique. It’s an eBook I bought a while ago, that outlines a way to get to know your storyline. Something, again, I’m not good at. I tend to sit down and write. No plan, no plot. This is what normally derails me, the first time I hit a wall I tend to have a nap.

Whatever I write, be it “Summer BeachBuster”, or “Cosy Mystery”. or “Gay Romance”. doesn’t really matter. What matters is I am practicing my skills, honing my knowledge of how to spin a sentence, weaves a world and make my stories as good as they can be.

Up until recently I was always afraid I was running out of time. That if I didn’t do it now, right now, I was never going to do it. I don’t really believe that any more. I can start it now, I can work on it for weeks or months before I actually put finger to keyboard. It honestly doesn’t matter how long it takes, so long as I write.

Writing is all I have ever wanted. It has always been my go-t0-point, my place where I can be a delusion Demi-God and smite a character simply because I don’t like the shoes it’s wearing. It’s been my happy place since I was a child. Reading, then writing, then both. It’s through words I have found my heart and my soul.

Some sing, others dance or paint but I write. Words have been the one constant in my life since I was a kid. When I was little my mother used to bribe me with Golden Books. If I was good when we went shopping, I could chose one. If I was naughty and asked for anything I could chose none. I don’t remember a time I didn’t come out of Woolworth clutching my latest Golden Book to my chest.

I once wrote a poem that talked about “sometimes it happen, straight out of the gate; other times you must wait as you grow the wings to fly.” It was a poem about frustration and was chock-filled with teenage angst. It was also about how it seemed to me that everyone else was able to achieve goals much faster than I was. I guess, in hindsight, that stands to reason. They worked for it while I sat around wondering why it wasn’t my turn.

I no longer feel the pressure to succeed, at least not today. If I don’t make then I don’t. If I do, then I do. But ultimately it is up to me. Whether I write a Summer BeachBuster or a three book epic fantasy series doesn’t matter. What matters is I make the effort and I try.

Although, between you and I, writing an 80’s throwback to the likes of Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz, and Danielle Steele, could be loads of tongue-in-cheek fun.

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2 Comments

  1. Fabulous! Thank you – says it all – I too forget to plot and plan and my characters take the bit between their teeth and head into the great unknown – sometimes without me 🙂
    Take care and keep writing!

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