How are my Stories Going?


I was in the middle of an in-depth discussion (read, ‘disagreement’) on Facebook last week, when suddenly I realised that the other person had been right all along.  I decided to say so, but buried it in lots of ‘but-I-was-sort-of-right-about this-tangent-because’ bullshit.

The reply I got started ‘WTF!’

I said something like, ‘I just agreed with you – but I probably used too many words.’

Now then.  To me, ‘using too many words’ is being verbose, excessive, indirect. Packing so much crap in that the point is not being made.  Bad writing.

I completely failed to notice that the way that the other ninety-nine point nine per cent of the population read it, I’d obviously just insulted her by calling her thick.

So you could say, I’m living on a different planet. that my writing’s not getting better, but worse.

But never-the-less, I think it might mean that I’m a writer.

I have this little gang of imaginary friends, or ‘characters.’  I spend quite a lot of time trying to make their voices speak to me.  I have their lives and personalities mapped out in arrow diagrams in notebooks and try to make them do things on paper.  They have a really unpleasant habit of rebelling and wanting to do something else.  When that happens, I have to end the scene, quickly.  My scenes tend to be quite short.

I think I’m taking it a little bit too seriously.  One story happened in a vets and I kept discovering things about veterinary science that I do not actually know.  Surely, if a vet isn’t sure on the exact accuracy of some minor detail, the rest of the population will probably be fine, but I keep finding myself messaging other vets for second opinions on imaginary cases.  Do I need to be worried about this?

My Google search list is getting to be amusing.  I Google-imaged ‘Real Middle-aged Ladies, UK’ tonight, to try to work out how a minor character might look.  Not like any of the pictures that appeared, that’s for sure:  they were of models, celebrities and David Cameron.  I was distracted for a couple of minutes to notice how many came from websites about women’s weight.  It was a shocking proportion.  I nearly made her a feminist campaigner and maniac google-imager in order to point this out.  (That’s something I have to do a lot, actually:  delete scenes in which characters discover things by google-image something.  Just because I suddenly do it all the time, doesn’t actually mean it’s a likely thing for a character to do…..).

Writing and google-imaging is all I want to do at night. I rarely even write this blog now, and you will see there has been no attempt to edit.  I keep forgetting to have a bath, and baths are my favourite thing.  Our TV has somehow got permanantly stuck on the CBeebies channel and i really do not care!  The kids are in bed, the computer goes on.  Sometimes I am still typing at two in the morning.  I once had to use a Frozen DVD for distraction the next morning while I have dozed off my ‘writing hangover’ under a duvet on the reading chair.  Luckily, the kids thought this was marvellous and ‘snuggled’ (read, sat on top of me) mesmerised, until Anna got frozen when I had to wake up to hold someone’s hand.  The bad news is that the big one now sings ‘For the First Time in Forever’ on loop (not the whole song, just that line) all day long.  And that I now stick to a bed-time to keep them safe and me sane.

Sometimes i put them in nursery so I can go for a run.  I am supposed to be training, but actually I am thinking.  About my novel.  And if you ever watch what happens to your feet when you walk or run while thinking hard, you will notice that they stop.  I keep finding myself stopping on my runs, staring up at a trees.  The trees don’t seem to know the answers.

It said in one of my ‘how to write a story’ books that you don’t have a story if you can’t pitch it to a friend and are not ready to start your first draft.  So I tried to tell a friend my story.  I’d been talking for an hour or so and not getting the words out, when the friend said, ‘What sort of book is this again?’ – but I keep telling myself that the ‘how to write a story’ book is actually probably wrong….

I would like to point out, also, that I am not writing a book.  I am writing stories.  The difference is that if I am not trying to write a book, then I can’t really fail at all.  They do say that every person has a book inside them and it might be true, but the truth is that most of us go completely crazy before we actually get the buggers out.


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