Thursday, 19 November 2009

Fickle? Me?

Some loyal readers may be wondering how my mad attempt to write a novel in a month is going...and how I'm managing to blog frequently at the same time.
Well now. How do I put this?
I knew that November was not going to be a great month to take on a writing challenge. For a start I was still working on final revisions of Almost True -  which I finished on the stroke of midnight on October 31. (My editor didn't like the ending  -  I suspected that was coming, and I much prefer my new version -  and he had problems with chapter 17.  Now he likes the new ending, but we're still debating chapter 17. I decided today..but haven't confessed to him yet...that the book can probably live without it altogether. But let's see what he thinks).
Then I got to work on the new book. I knew I wouldn't get much done in the first week -  I was working for a newspaper -  but thought I would catch up as the story gathered momentum. I plunged in. I gave my main character a stroppy younger brother. Her love interest  -  a sexy chauffeur -  waited in the wings.  I was poised to fall in love with the story.
But I didn't.
 It felt static, dull, irritating. I didn't warm to my main character. I didn't seem to have much to say about her or her family. I pined for Ty and his mum.
I slipped some poison into someone's tea, in an attempt to spice things up a bit. He frothed at the mouth and writhed on the floor. I yawned, switched on X Factor.
And then, ten days or so into November I had a new idea. A simple but great idea. My sort of idea. An idea that seems full of possibilities and fun and questions and could lead in all sorts of exciting directions.
An idea that killed the other novel dead.
So, I abandoned Novel A and began to think about Novel B. I thought about how to tell the story. I worried about it for a week -  how to avoid predicability -  and then I got it! Title, structure, form. I'm not quite there with a plot, but that'll come. Whooo...I'm completely in love with this idea.
So, November wasn't the month for writing. November turned into the month for thinking. What I want to know is whether the abortive attempt to write Novel A opened me up to finding the idea for Novel B. Or was it just a coincidence?


  1. As long as you don't get to novel Z without writing something. I just don't have the stamina to do that much writing.

  2. I hate it when characters turn up unexpectedly and just expect you to drop everything else and pander to their every need :)
    Good Luck with the alternative November - NaNoNoWriMo !

  3. Don't you hate it when writing works that way? Why can't we be straightforward, organized and efficient creative people???

    But you're probably absolutely right that you had to struggle with Novel A to reach Novel B. Sounds like a great conclusion to me. Best of luck with the new idea!!!!

  4. I am envious that you have an idea for ANOTHER book...need to sit down and think myself. Do you not have the plot structured before you start?
    Nice post as always, Keren.

  5. No, no...novel B is the One. It's got great potential.
    I don't do very well with structured pre-planning, I prefer to start with an idea (eg boy goes into witness protection) a lot of backstory, an idea of a destination and a few points in between. I might try and do a basic synopsis or blurb for this one though.

  6. Hello, hello,

    First, want to thank you for following my blog. Always love a new fan.

    I am actually thinking about publishing a book soon, and it's really scary for me, 'cause I'm a publishing virgin. Any fast tips?

    Do you hate it too?
    "If you're going through Hell, keep going."
    Holy Holism!

  7. Hi Michael...yes, always nice to get a new follower, eh? That's a hint btw. Getting published - you need to combine unshakeable self belief with the stoicism to handle multiple rejections. Go into Waterstones and look at all those books. It's possible - you can do it too.

  8. Having only ever written one full manuscript, (not a book yet, sadly) I can't really say that I'm an expert on the writing thought process.
    However, what I can tell you is that my method of plot direction was almost tragically random. I had the theme, the characters, a start and an end. Unfortunately the middle was a bowl of idea spaghetti and the more I boiled it in my cerebral juices the floppier it became.
    Luckily it all worked out in the end though.

  9. Hi Keren, sounmds like something inspired you. I am glad Book B sounds so exciting and wish you lots of luck :)