Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Feel write


This was in my file of "Phone Photos". I have no idea when, where, what it is - looks like a very blurry view - it seemed fitting.


Today is Wednesday - evening for me, morning for some of you, and some other unfathomable time differences for others. I hadn't planned on posting anything new until Friday but I'm such a rebel!




I've been stuck with my WIP for weeks now, or thought I was, until I realised I was only snagged on that chapter. My novel is in three parts and I have the first and the final parts planned out to such sphincter toning precision that when I came to planning the central section (for which I have been researching for months) I found I was somewhat constricted - creatively constipated one might say.



The research has been intriguing, fascinating and moving and I have learnt a phenomenal amount. I wish I could tell you some of the wonderfully random and amazing things I now know but I'm hanging on in case I can or need to use them in my narrative. However, the research has posited a huge burden on my narrative frame. I have acquired some very special information but with it comes a responsibility. I cannot simply write what I feel like writing because I have not only the facts to bear in mind (not to mention all the dates which are driving me out of my innumerate mind) but  also the feelings and integrity of real people.



Last weekend - with some assistance from my fellow tinternetters with their bloggy bludgeons - I forced myself to write the first chapter of the central section. It took me all of Saturday to get the basic shape of the thing, with the relevant historical detail (that was the real difficulty - I have all this wonderful information and I cannot use ninety percent of it - no that's not an actual figure, I have no idea of an actual figure but it seems like the shape of ninety percent - but I want to), and the plotting just so.



Usually I would leave it at this stage and move on to the next chapter and then revise after a few to make sure it wasn't getting too out of shape or that elements or characters weren't deviating too far from my plans. Small mistakes early on can devastate the plot evolution later on and it's letting the plot spin a few wheel burns later that's the fun part so I don't want to curb my fun by not being careful early on. Only I haven't got any plans, not in my sense of the word plans, for this central section yet. Or so I thought.



I'd been hung up on this section for so long - rummaging through masses of notes and documents to try to piece together a plot - that I'd forgotten about the thing I could do. Therefore (note absence of "so" to start this sentence), on Saturday I put the research to one side and I just wrote. I stopped worrying about the dates and the facts and all the other details that have been escalating in my easily overawed leetle brain and I wrote. And it was wonderful. I have a thousand post-it notes stuck all over to remind me of details to follow up on or add later but I let the words flow and didn't stall them with sense or reason and I got a first draft of a chapter. I was so relieved that I sent it to some people who have a very vested interest in this section of the novel and they were thrilled - the protagonist is, they said, just how they - his family - have always thought of him. PHEWSH!



And I am light. I can write without the weight of responsibility holding down my wrists. And now I can't wait to see where the words will take me next. I had been hopping into my planned sections and writing the odd bits but I really find those easy and I want to save them until the last. The central part had become the Brussels sprout, the part I must get out of the way first, but now I'm developing an acquired taste for it. I'm still not comfortable about not having it all planned out to precision for this section but I have a brief outline and now I have a start....and I'm going to go with the flow and see what happens. I'm going to let myself feel what to write. So far it feels right.

17 comments:

Donna Hosie said...

What a brilliant post, Rachel. Good for you for throwing off those shackles and letting it flow.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Donna, and then some! ;)

Rachel Fox said...

Sounds like some good work done.
x

Golden West said...

Sounds like you're on a roll! I don't write much beyond my blog, but have found if I get it out there, it can always be fine tuned and pared down. Keep up the good work!

To answer your question about the bacon dog - it is a hot dog wrapped in bacon (known in some parts as a heart attack on a bun)!

Thomas Taylor said...

Yes, a fascinating post, Rachel.

It's a trememdous feeling to finally throw off some weight that has been dragging at our writing, and to feel the story soar as a result.

I'm glad you got your, er... blockage, sorted out. Better out than in.

Lori said...

When it is write, it is write. I can walk in your shoes all through the part where you cannot make yourself write, but I can only admire from afar the way you handled and overcame the block. You are a real writer.

Dave King said...

A very enjoyable post. A day-brightener.

Rachel Fenton said...

T'other Rachel - not sure about the "good" but it's something done and that's the relief! Cheers.


GW - Thanks for explaining the bacon dog - I call those pigs in blankets! Thank you for the encouragement.


Thomas - thank you! Being word bound was not pleasant!


Lori - I'd probably have still been staring at a blank screen were it not for some pointed nudges! It wasn't going to write itself was the conclusion I came to! Thank you for your kind words.


Dave - thanks - that's a nice compliment!

Kass said...

...sphincter-toning precision. I love this and I love that blurry picture. The colors are stunning. Great post. Some day this will be in your book about the writing process.

Rachel Fenton said...

Ha, Kass, that'll be the day! Thanks for the vote of confidence - glad you like the pic - it's quite lovely in its lostness.

Titus said...

Fascinating, funny, informative.
Thanks for the insight, and stay light!

Dreamstate said...

Yay! Euphoria! Just remember: Now write, write now.

Rachel Fenton said...

Cheers, Titus, will try though I wasn't designed to fly!


Write away, Dreamstate! Thanks :)

Andrea said...

I agree with what you are saying about research - and your novel sounds fascinating - looking forward to reading it in due course!

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Andrea. Just reading back through what I wrote last weekend and cringing though..more revision and another chapter this weekend hopefully!

anamika said...

Great post...I am impressed:)

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Anamika, I appreciate you popping in to say so!