Inspiration, something all writers crave. But if I have learnt one thing so far about the process I am going through is that it’s a dammed elusive beast. The more you strive for it the less likely you are to find it. Everyday I sit down to write I am confronted the same fears and trepidations namely.
Will I find my characters voices again. Will the tone be consistent or will I unconsciously veer off into some stylistic anomaly.
Will I be able to progress the plot sufficiently without either being too enigmatic or too patronising.
Is the plot credible, have I “jumped the shark” and am no longer in control of events, inventing ever more bizarre co-incidences to keep things on track.
Will I hit my arbitrary daily word target and just move the damm thing forward.
Is what I am writing just utter self-indigent crap.
So what do I do to offset these daily horrors, which seem common to a lot if not all writers. (note to self, don’t include yourself in that august body just yet sunshine – nothing printed, nothing gained). Here are my solutions. I offer them not as tablets of stone, just what works for me. Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.
If you write regularly, the consistency of tone voice and character will come. Familiarity breeds content(ment).
Once established effectively, your characters will exist and come to life when you need them. They will tell you what to say on their behalf.
Always progress the plot, even if it just putting in a remark or action that will only become clear later on. Don’t just sit their wallowing in a scene just because you like the words.
Allied to that is never be precious about any phrase or passage. Your opinion is just one out of (hopefully many) If someone else says something is not working – they’re probably right. But only you can fix it so don’t be defensive about it. Do something about it.
Conscious inspiration is an illusion. Just let your subconscious work on things behind the scenes. The solution will emerge. Mine is currently mulling over several variations in the way the current chapter could go. The only thing I have decided is that what I have currently written will need to be re-worked.
Write automatically, in free-fall, just let it flow, don’t judge whilst you are writing, review after and amend if required. Usually you don’t need to . I have found that the strongest passages (imho) are those that just emerge without any apparent conscious thought.
Create the setting in your minds eye. Know where the people are in relation to each other and visualise the room or location, then just describe what happened next.
Keep reading, not just to see what works with other writers, just keep yourself informed, you never know when it may come in handy. Not sure how a shadowy cabal can influence world events? Think it too far fetched? Just check out this and this. Now wonder how to translate that into a Victorian setting. Hmmmm ideas aplenty. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.
Accept that your brain does not work in a linear fashion. Ideas will pop up for sections of the book at random. Just note them down for a later date. Last week I found myself researching the American Revolution. Why? My brain had an itch that needed to be scratched so I let it wander for a time. Now it knows there is useful material for a much later issue ready and waiting and is now letting me return to the task in hand.
The above are not unique to me, you can find them dotted all over the literature of the writing process. For example here.
Ok, in other news the draft is up to 65k and reaching a critical point that will cause numerous consequences. Time to fire up the plot particle accelerator and crash some characters into each other and see which fragments are left and which ones (if any) emerge unscathed.
See you next week.