I am 6000 words into my book. And I am gobsmacked.
I mean, I really am actually writing a book!
Not talking about it. Or thinking about it. Or spending hours researching it. I am actually parking my bum in front of the computer for anything from a few minutes to a few hours a day, writing the darn thing.
It’s a book for 8-12 year olds. And my gut tells me I’m around a fifth of the way in… though of course, who knows what the story will morph into.
In the past, this ‘not knowing’ would have driven me round the bend (cue memories of me crestfallen and crumpled on a sofa, wailing ‘I CAN’T DO IT!’).
So what’s changed? Why am I now, all of a sudden, taking my writing seriously?
Maybe security has something to do with it? And fresh reserves of brain power: I’ve recently moved home. I love my new home. Ergo, I feel more safe, settled and secure. And a big part of my brain which was obsessed with figuring out where to live and how to get there, is now free to do other things with its time.
Like write a novel.
I don’t have a clue what I am doing. I have no ‘technique’ as such, or plan. I’m just doing it.
I started with an opening scene (letting my fingers type whatever they wanted) and then wobbled on from this point, writing a scene here, a paragraph there. Sometimes these scenes and paragraphs are linked but usually they’re random things that will occur later on in the story. Which is great, but I have no idea how I’m going to get there.
Basically my book is like a plate of spaghetti. I can see lots of enticing strands of pasta but I have no idea how or where they meet up!
In the past this would have brought me out in a cold sweat and would spell the end of my writing aspirations.
This time round, I’ve kept the faith. I’ve noticed that if I don’t panic and I keep writing scenes and playing with ideas, slowly things start to add up. I begin to see how things link.
Heck, I even drew a diagram a few days ago!
In The Art of Fiction John Gardner says that a writer works out plot in one of three ways; “…by borrowing some traditional plot or an action from real life, by working his way back from his story’s climax, or by groping his way forward from an initial situation.”
I’m definitely a ‘groper’. For me, a book is like serving up a big pile of spaghetti and then slowly unravelling all the strands.
12 thoughts on “My book is like a plate of spaghetti”
Katherine!! You’ve been on my mind… I’m so sorry I haven’t written back. When is a good time to call you today? Amanda x
Hey Amanda, I’m around this afternoon and over the next few days (just leave a message if I’m out and I’ll call you back ASAP) x
Ah, it’s invigorating reading about where I was not that long ago :-)
Regarding plotting, I’m somewhere in-between ‘working backwards’ and ‘groping’ (I wrote the first chapter, then the last chapter, then tried to work out the story in the middle lol).
Mine is out with a bunch of critiquers at the moment, waiting for the next round of editing before sending it out to agents / publishers – eek! Lots of hard work, but really, really exciting!!
Loving your blog.
Thanks Zee! It’s great to hear how you approached writing your book (and it’s good to meet a fellow ‘groper’…though that sounds slightly wrong!). Congratulations for being on the verge of sending it out to agents and publishers – really, really exciting. Let me know how it goes!
Yeah, I did feel slightly awkward using the word in this context!
I think being a groper in this context is above board and legal :-)
Nothing better than surprising yourself with what you’re achieving. Such a great feeling. Interesting what you say about feeling secure in your new home and freeing up your mind to create. You’re in a good head space by the sounds of it. Have fun spaghetti writing! x
I’m definitely getting there, and I’m sure feeling secure has a lot to do with it. I recently read a children’s book and something clicked inside of me – a little voice in my head said, ‘Hey, I can do this!’ Thanks Richard x
Good luck on your novel. I am working on my first novel currently: outlining right now and fleshing out back story for characters. You might think of checking out Scapple by Literature and Latte. They also make Scrivner. Essentially it’s a computerized version of your notebook page. I found it really helpful and has a free trial.
Thanks for the tip Andrew, I’ll check out Scapple. Good luck with your novel too!
Congratulations for sticking at it and believing in yourself, but most of all enjoy yourself, reading between the lines that really comes through. :))
Merci beaucoup Monsieur Pickering, I’m really enjoying this one – got to be a good sign. Phew.