I have decided that now is about time to start using this blog for the other half of it’s initially intended purpose: to talk about writing!
I love writing stories; I always have done. In the past couple of years, however, I have become more sure that it is something I want to do professionally.
Two years ago today exactly, (I promise that wasn’t even planned!) I completed my very first complete, finished draft of a novel. This is the novel that I have been most passionate about, out of all that I have ever written. It has been the story I have spent most time in my head in, even when writing something else. It has been the story that when I have a good idea, it automatically gets added to that story over any other. It has been the story that I see unfold in my mind through music – something that just hasn’t happened with my other stories.
So after taking almost a year of not writing this novel, I decided that it was time to seriously pick it back up again. Reading through my first draft, I have realised just how much bigger this world has become in my mind, how many more characters there are, and the truth behind some of the relationships that I had created. And it has got me thinking about taking breaks from stories, and how useful that can be.
As I said, this is the first novel that I ever finished a first draft of, which of course makes it really special in itself. However, it also makes it probably the least well-written and structured story I have written too! It has been through writing other things, however, that I have been able to develop a writing style, rather than being focused simply on developing a story. It has just happened to be a huge bonus that through writing other stories, and wanting to add these new ideas to this original one, that I have also been able to develop the storyline of this novel too!
Taking a break has also let me reflect on the story, world and characters in a way that I just wouldn’t have been able to had I not taken such a break. In the past year especially, I have had revelations about this story that have made it all make so much more sense in my mind. It has made me realise that it is a much more complex and long story than I had originally thought. It made me realise that characters I had thought I knew, have much more complex personalities, motives and backgrounds than I had originally conceived. Relationships that I thought would work, have now revealed their issues in greater clarity. If I had just carried on editing straight away upon completing the first draft, I don’t think I would have allowed myself to reveal this story in so much more detail.
When I write, I don’t write with a detailed plan. I have an overall idea of where the story is going to go, and who my main characters are, but from there I’m completely in the dark! I discover the story as I go. Considering I’m a detailed planner in all other aspects of my life, it’s actually quite annoying that I don’t write stories that way. I have tried it – it just doesn’t work for me. Writing without a plan means that I don’t have much control, and that’s quite scary. But its also exciting, and means that what I write is as spontaneous as real life events, which makes it more real. But I don’t read to read real life. I read for a new world. And a new world requires detailed planning! (You can see the vicious cycle here!) And I think this is what has been putting me off from starting to edit this story – just how much editing and planning needs to be done to sort out and organise the main plots, as well as the more intricate subplots of the story, and details of the wider world, in order to make a whole new world that readers can still understand and connect with. That’s the most daunting part of all!
Recently, I have been immersing myself back into this story, and have started to more carefully go through some outlines of the series as a whole, and the storylines of individual characters. I think this will take a while, and it may be even a few months before I can get back to writing the second draft for real! But I’m feeling so much excitement at being back in this world I created, and planning a story that is so much bigger and better than I had originally planned and written.
I’m hoping to be able to keep you up to date with my writing process on my blog (what I had intended to do from the beginning – only took me 1 year to get on with it!!!) Hopefully it will keep me motivated too, as well as letting you know about some of the techniques, tricks and methods I have, and will, learn and discover through this writing journey!