Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Writing down the words

2007 has been a really important year for me writing-wise. I have finally got my act together, made writing part of my daily life and written complete pieces and sent them out there. I'm also really fortunate at the moment in having a fair bit of time to write in, as my work load is quite light.

So, where's the novel?

I've realised that despite my newly acquired positive approach to writing and my daily stint with pen and paper or keyboard to hand, part of me is still hanging on to that old idea that my novel will just write itself, while I sit here and doodle. I found the following quote appropriate:

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, "Diary," February 1895

Well I've been looking for it for ages and it hasn't turned up yet, so I need to face the fact that some hard grafting, some creative juicing, spilling of ink and tapping of fingers is required. Otherwise it will forever remain what it is today - just a damn good idea for a novel.

I'm wondering if my recent forays into short, short fiction are also holding me back, not just because I am writing them instead, but also because I am finding it difficult to think in terms of longer pieces of writing. But maybe I can put this to use. In much of my flash / micro-fiction I have been writing 'moments'. Advice from writing friends and books suggests approaching a novel 'scene by scene', so as not to be daunted by the whole. Maybe I need to approach mine 'moment by moment'. If I write enough moments I should eventually have a novel.

It's worth a try.

Meanwhile, I listened to Book of the Week on Radio 4 this morning and really enjoyed it: the journalist Katharine Whitehorn reading from her autobiograpy, a beautifully written insight into life and love in the 1950s, well worth a 'listen again'


Rob said...

Interesting post!

I'm writing a lot of very short (on-line) fiction currently as a result of a challenge I set myself to see how long I could last doing one each working day.

The creative tension to do this is huge and each day brings new characters and adventure. Some characters, I find, are staying with me and begging to live some more.

Sometimes I find the stronger characters even popping up in several short stories.

I love the flash fiction format because it forces me to focus on key moments and acts as a catalyst for plot.

But I think it's the characters themselves that want to grow and the novel is the landscape the author has to provide to tell their stories.

Just my 2p worth :-)

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Much appreciated Rob and worth more than tuppence!