Never was gonna be a piece of cake

I’ve been buried in my studies for a week! I’m studying music as part of my degree and hope to graduate in the summer. The last time I studied music was the year before last and I found it consumed my life. That year I didn’t write a word. Knowing that once the studies got underway this would create a distraction, I’ve already planned all sorts of writing events. I need these things lined up to keep me at it!

On Wednesday I started a weekly workshop on novel plotting which has dragged me back to my writing habit. My first draft of Holly’s Hub currently falls short of the expected word length of contemporary romantic fiction by about eighteen thousand words.  With the help of the great teacher, I came to realise that I’ve ended the novel too soon. Way too soon – after the climax of the plot. She suggested that there should be a coming down period.  So, I’ve paused the rewrite and skipped to the end. I think the mistake with the plot was due to confusing the format with short stories, where the aim is to end as soon as possible after the climax – as author Raymond Carver said, “Get in, get out, don’t linger”. But this isn’t a short story, it’s a novel, and a novel is a totally different animal.

I’ve written 876 words in the last couple of days, but before I go on, I need to decide what is going to happen as I’ve found Holly making a cup of tea and eating large slabs of cake. I’ve noticed in my writing, if someone puts the kettle on I need to focus on some action! Something I do need to consider is the passing of time. It’s not something I’ve yet dealt with. I’ve written without any huge jumps of time, it’s all happened over a short time frame of late spring/summer.  I’m considering finishing the plot in the following summer. Do I jump? Do I skip a month here and there? Do I use a cinematic style montage? So many things to think of – but at least my brain is back in gear – and I’m in writing mode.

Novel writing was never going to be a piece of cake and the elation of finishing that first draft has definitely faded. But I’m so pleased that I’m keeping at it – keeping in touch with my writing besties and the wider writing community both on-line and in person. I’ll also be attending a day course on getting published and will be looking at what is coming up in neighboring Literary Festivals. All to keep me on track…and nearer to my goal of getting this baby finished and out there.

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