Saturday, 7 January 2012
Getting to The End
I haven’t been one for doling out the writing advice on this blog, not least for the reason there are lots of people out there much better at than me.
However, there’s one thing I’ve been asked a lot recently and I thought it might be fun to get a wee discussion going.
Lots of people start writing a novel. Lots of people don’t get very far writing a novel. (Some cruel people might argue that too many people do, but that’s for another blog.)
The people that struggle to finish might ask, how do you maintain the effort required to get to those two little words: The End?
But if it’s something that you have done for years now and it’s something that you just do, you often don’t know how to answer. Although “Blood Tears” will be my first published novel, it was the 3rd to be written – and I have now written a further 3, so experience tells me I can go all the way.
I compare this to when I go swimming. As a part of my (off and on) fitness regime I swim a mile once or twice a week. The first 20 lengths of the pool are the WORST. I’m all heavy-limbs and aching joints and an internal moan that goes – whyareyoudoingthisthisissfeckingawfulstopnow. Then because experience tells me I can go the distance, I get past the hump, get into my rhythm and before you know it the last touch down is looming.
When writing a novel, there is always a hump. I’m a pantser – I’ve set the characters in place, the story is unravelling and I hit a wall. “Where the feck am I going to go now?” plays on a loop in my head.
What do I do?
I keep on writing.
Experience tells me I am capable of finishing and it also allows me to trust that my sub-conscious (or as Stephen King calls it – the boys on the boiler room) is working on a solution. I keep at it. I keep showing up at the coal-face and then, one day, it all falls into place like a grand, DAH-DAH! (I swear the sun always comes out and the birds set up an orchestral movement right at this very moment.)
So how does that help the first-timer, you ask while wagging a finger at your screen?
Don’t know, he smiles wickedly.
What I will say is that if you are serious about writing you will need to develop a mindset of persistence. Get your arse on the chair – your fingers on the keys – and get on a programme of writing activity, because this work of art/ bestseller/ piece of crap/ work of genius/ wouldn’t wipe my backside with this nonsense – and yes, that’s how my brain considers each of my novels during the writing process - isn’t going to write itself.
And if you get to The Hump and you trust in your characters, the world you’re creating and your story, keep coming back to them because they hold all the answers.
Do you remember the first time? (Writing a book, silly.) How did you keep at it?