Gone Writing...

>> Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A while back I posted about starting to write a book. It's been a little 'stop/go' since then, if I'm honest. After an inital burst of enthusiasm, and a lot of thinking, Real Life started to get in the way and it's only now - that an event here in Moscow which I was doing some work for is done and dusted - that I've actually sat down and started to have a proper go at My Masterpiece.

It's such an interesting process. I should come clean here, and say that I haven't had 'The Big Idea' burning away on the back of the stove for years now. There was no blinding flash of inspiration where I sat up in bed in the middle of the night and shouted 'Eureka! I've got it!', no, nothing that impressive.

When I started writing I knew only two things, in fact. I knew what the location for the opening page of the book would be, and based on a fascinating piece of family history that a friend shared with me about a few months ago, I had an inkling that it would involve a search of some kind. And that was it. That was all I had to go on.

If I'm honest, I thought this book would be about me, or someone like me. Some slightly more mature version of chick-lit perhaps; lighter on the bags and shoes than some of the offerings out there, heavier on the international travel (so far, so Potski Mumski), but essentially something that I knew.

Imagine my surprise then, when I started tapping away and discovered this book - my book - is not about me at all. How very dare my subconscious?!! My protaganist jumped from my fingers straight onto the keys, almost fully formed. I know his name (for yes, it's a guy - go figure!), I know what he looks like, I know his shortcomings, I know what stage of life he's at. I know his family, I know his girlfriend. Hell, I can even visualise the colour of his rucksack and the scuffs on his shoes.

And I know he's at a crossroads and that there is something which must be resolved before he decides which route to take. I even have a fair idea of how he's going to get there.

And the more I write, the clearer this all becomes to me. It's incredible - and I love doing it.

Whether this work of art (for which read amateur drivel) will ever see the light of day anywhere other than on my laptop is questionable. And it's all taking rather longer to get going than I thought it would. Seventy thousand is a LOT of words, people. A lot. And I'm nowhere near that total yet, mainly because I can't stop myself re-reading and then editing the previous days' work before I start on the next, but I'm hoping I'll move on from what is probably a classic beginner's mistake shortly and just write more fluidly.

In the meantime, though, please excuse me if I am a little distracted...


Nicola 11 October 2011 at 10:30  

WOW. Very impressed. How amazing that this person is being formed, almost of their own volition...

This is the first post I have ever read about writing a book (and there have been a few...) that has actually made me want to consider what would happen if I sat down and started to write properly.

Best of luck with it all Potty. I hope it becomes a literary masterpiece xx

MrsB @ crankymonkeys in london 11 October 2011 at 11:06  

Wow, I'm jealous. I wish some cool character would jump out of my fingertips :)

Potty Mummy 11 October 2011 at 11:11  

I think that 'literary masterpiece' might be pushing it a little Nicola...

MrsB; thankyou. Not sure he's cool though (I mean, obviously I think he is, but perhaps not in the usual sense of the word...)

Jo Beaufoix 11 October 2011 at 12:39  

Oh you go for it lovely. Your writing here is always stunning and beautifully consistent. I love that you're writing a man. I always find that so interesting when someone can write the opposite sex. If you want any readers I'd love to look at a chapter or two for you. Go, go go. xxx

Retiredandcrazy 11 October 2011 at 12:43  

I had a similar experience years ago. I sat down to write a book and the characters started writing themselves. Very surreal but, I'm given to understand, not that uncommon. Good luck with your project. Word of advice. Don't start worrying about your characters! They will survive!!!

Muddling Along 11 October 2011 at 16:03  

You sound as if you are doing brilliantly - can't wait to read it (and say that I knew you before you were all famous)

White Feather 11 October 2011 at 18:44  

Potty Mummy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. It seems to me that you are doing far better than you think you are. I would suggest that you not put too much pressure on your self. I also go back and reread and edit the previous day's work before I start on the current day's writing. It helps me get into the flow.

I think it's a good sign that your protagonist seems to have taken on a life of his own. Let your characters develop naturally. Let them flow through you instead of them being your creations.

Best of luck with your project. May it be fun and invigorating.

Resources For Writers

Tara Cain 11 October 2011 at 19:26  

I just love hearing how the creative process affects different people and how it's almost 'alive' inside them.
You go Potty x

nappy valley girl 11 October 2011 at 19:47  

That's fantastic. When you hear great writers talking about their work, they always say that their characters take on a life of their own - so you must be doing something right. Hope you get a humungous book deal.

Iota 12 October 2011 at 00:40  

"How very dare my subconscious?" Now that kind of sentence is exactly why I would rush out to buy any book you wrote.

Expat mum 12 October 2011 at 01:26  

Oh please keep going. It will be great. It's fantastic that you have such clarity because most of the "how to" books out there concentrate on character development, and most writers don't really have a fully formed character.
One thing to be prepared for - having just done it myself - is that you'll write a great story, and then you WILL sit up in the middle of the night and think of an even better ending, or a twist. Either will mean drastic re-writes somewhere along the line, but it will make for a much better novel in the end.
This would be a fab blog posty theme thing - everyone's creative process.

Home Office Mum 12 October 2011 at 06:56  

You see I've tried writing and the person was me and I didn't like who she was. How worrying is that? So I stopped. Good for you. Am insanely jealous

Knackered Mother 12 October 2011 at 21:57  

So exciting! Cannot wait to read it x

dulwich divorcee 13 October 2011 at 12:02  

I love it when the characters are alive and willful, it's the best feeling. So dying to read it, Potty. And the editing yesterday's work before starting? I always do that :)

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