I’m supposed to be reading right now. And, to be fair, I am reading. It’s just that, after so long away, I want to be writing – actually putting words on a page – too. I have re-read parts of Going Back now, shying away a little form my idea of reading parts 1 and 3 consecutively, and figuring out what has to be in part 2. It’s too daunting a task to tackle straight off, and I’m thinking around it at the moment.
I’ve also been reading the Weekend Novelist book (see below). I’m a little torn – it offers sensible advice, and some useful exercises, but it’s also not really aimed at a novel like mine. I’m guessing the average Weekend Novelist writes genre fiction, and has a straightforward story arc, with subplots and so on. Mine is a little more, well, complicated than that, especially in the shifting timeframes, and the way the subplots turn out to be main plots, and vice versa.
I’m not setting myself up to be Thomas Pynchon or anything; but some of these exercises don’t really apply to me, I’m afraid.
However, all is not lost. There’s an early exercise in the book, designed to get you to think more deeply about your protagonist. It involves going back to before the beginning of your story and writing about what your character was doing an hour, a week, a month, a year,and so on before the story starts. I have seized on this, and 3,000 words later (yes, I know; I’m supposed to be subtracting from the hulk, but none of this will go in the finished version, I think), I have some text which has a) caused me to be pleased that I can still wirte coherently about these characters, b) convinced me that I can still actually, you know, write, and c) given me someting to post here. So, without further ado, I present a small section of the back story work I’ve been doing. You’ll notice that I was unable to restrict myself to my protagonist, and that this isn’t the entire 3,000 words. I may post more of it later…