Suddenly, it is a tad “wintry” here in Devon…
That is practically shorts weather in upstate New York, of course. Still, what matters is not what it might be at, say, the South Pole. One degree below zero celsius (or about 30F) is pretty cool for hereabouts in southwest England.
That above pic was taken yesterday. It got a bit warmer – up to about 2c – a few hours after that. Today is much the same as that was yesterday… CHILLY.
But I have the electric fire, so I am in the “outdoor writing nook” now as usual…
A reader dropped me that Instagram message a few days ago. It is always uplifting and motivating to know there are those impatient for the next book. But while some authors seem able to churn out books every “three months,” I can’t. Those previous three novels took me about two years each.
I tend to write in “spurts” supported by intervals – it could be hours, or days, or even weeks – of “thinking.” Pausing to “think” is routinely derided (especially on social media by supposed “know-it-alls”) as “procrastination” when it comes to writing. (“A writer must always write every minute of every day!”) However, whenever I have tried to throw stuff (I could use another word starting with “s”) onto the PC screen just for the sake of being able to say I have “written” something, what I end up with before me most of the time is basically a mess. I have then to backtrack and spend much more time fixing that slop than it would have taken me had I done a thoughtful job the first time ’round. Yes, yes, a “rough draft” does not have to be perfect, but (at least from where I sit) it is not supposed to be a dumpster fire.
What I term “thinking” includes not only taking time to have a short “break,” or ponder on what I have done already, or re-read what I have recently written of the draft. It is also about taking time to observe what is happening “out there.” To write is also to be a “sponge” in taking in what you see around you – and I have learned I never know what could prove unexpectedly useful or “inspirational.”
For example, “Ana” who first appears in Tomorrow The Grace, was a direct result of my having stumbled on a 2018 Instagram post by a Spanish tennis star. You may know this little story already. However, if you don’t it was one of my clearest author “inspirations” from social media.
One morning while scrolling Insta, a post by that player caused me to realize – as if I had been hit over the head with the proverbial brick – that brainlessly I had not outlined to include anything about the Spanish empire in the then new manuscript; and I knew that there was contact between South American independence activists and members of the new United States government in the 1790s and early 1800s. Seeing that post by her led me off in a new story direction I had not expected to pursue… and within hours “Ana” and her father “Diego” were born. “They” are certainly not the only ones to have appeared on my pages due to some “inspiration” I got from somewhere “out there” and I know they will definitely not be the last…
I have also decided to write the new novel in the “3rd person.” That is a gigantic change I had been hoping to avoid because it requires lots of re-writing; but better to make that call now than, say, six months from now. With this new manuscript I had been trying for the first time to write a novel in the “1st person,” but I have finally fully admitted to myself that I have been finding that “1st” perspective to be just what I had feared from the outset: it is way too “narrow” and too “limiting,” I believe, for the full novel of the type I want to write. (I had used the “1st” with the two short stories.)
Most importantly, I want to much better develop the main woman character (the French portrait painter) and to give her lots more “screen time” all to herself. But a “1st person” approach in writing the tale from the main man’s perspective simply does not allow me the writing freedom to do that. So “1st person” has to go…
I had felt that in struggling to write this new “300 page” novel in the “1st person” that I was trying to write it while straight-jacketed. I suspected and feared that if I kept “forcing” myself to do it that way that it was not going to be very good. And that is THE LAST thing I want to be the case after putting in so much effort and knowing I have readers telling me they are looking forward to it.
Have a good – and warm, hopefully – weekend, wherever you are. 🙂