Inspiration: The Fickle Beast

DebE —  February 9, 2012 — Leave a comment

Gosh, haven’t I been quiet of late? Indeed.

So, a quick catch up (and a mountain of excuses).

I don’t give writing advice on my blog for many reasons. Number one being that I am a novice and any ideas I put here would just be someone else’s idea regurgitated ever so slightly into my own words – although, when you don’t know what you are talking about how can you possibly say it better than the experts? If you want writing advice, go here. No, seriously, do. You’ll spend hours flicking through Janice’s blog, just like I have, and come away feeling like you really could write that killer novel because, you know, you know how to now.

I ended up on that ‘site after attending a local writer’s group meeting last night – yay, the new year has finally begun! As a “lesson” we ran through some of Janice’s tips on plotting. Of course, it got me thinking about my own novel. I know that as a first novel I am meant to treat it as “practice” for the real thing. But, you can’t help but be attached to your story and your characters. You want the best for them. You want them to be a bestseller. You hope. You strive. You learn. You keep going. Until reality hits, I guess … or, you get lucky. I’m still in the hoping, striving, keeping going phase.

But, I will admit, that my plot isn’t rock solid. I keep hoping for inspiration to hit and to suddenly see the light. It don’t work that way for me, I’m afraid. I have to work at it. And hanging out on Janice’s ‘site (yes, if you are a writer, I really do think you should visit her blog) has been good for me. I have broken down my fundamental ideas, and attempted to develop them – easier said than done, but doable.

I have learned a few things from my visit (prolonged as it was):

I have some major re-writing ahead of me. Now, I knew that. You write, you re-write, you re-write, you line edit, blah blah … But, see, I thought I had my first few chapters pretty well sorted. But, no. The stakes … the drama … hasn’t reached its potential, and I can see that now. In fact, I even have ideas on how to fix it. I don’t need to change the fundamentals (which is why I’m still hoping and striving and not throwing this one into the vault), but I do need to change a few details to make things more real, more meaty. It’s exciting. It’s difficult. But I want to do it. Will I be able to put together my new Chapters 1-3 in time for my First Three Chapters group to review them? I don’t know. I have a little more than a week for that (and I can reuse a good chunk, so it’s possible). I don’t mind working on my old versions. I’ll still learn from the comments I get. And, I might find that things aren’t as bad as they seem – still, even if it’s pretty good, I would like to strive for awesome.

I’m not sure where the thought came from, but a little while before I decided to write this post, I had a flash of inspiration regarding a segment well into the bowels of my story and it’s got me excited about getting there (yeah … after I go back to the beginning again). It’s good getting these solid thoughts about dramatic moments, though – it gives you something to plan for and set up. It’s kind of cool that I am using an idea I had months and months ago, and even wrote happening under slightly different circumstances, but back then I never realized the full range of benefits of the action might have. You see, I’ve planned from the beginning to have my MC be captured by the antagonist, and her friends are meant to come after her. But, they have to go across a country in which they are unwelcome and, therefore, have never entered before. On top of that, they don’t know where she is being taken exactly. So, I had this problem – how will they find her? OK, so they might not, exactly, but how do they, at least, manage to be on the right track? It bothered me that I couldn’t come up with a feasible answer to this. But, now I have it! It’s only taken a year … 18 months … possibly longer. Yeah, I’m slow. But, hey, I finally have my trail of breadcrumbs. And I’m happy.

And how did I get there? You got it. By starting here!

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DebE

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Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a nematophagus fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction. Mum of one human & four fur-babies.

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