I love New Year! Can’t abide Christmas but am passionately fond of the aftermath. I’m an Optimist at heart and what better time for such than the start of a fresh new year… the ending of a sullied, old one?
2009 was a peculiar period – a bit of a mixed bag. On the positive side, I’ve learned a lot as a writer, have finished writing a book and, for the first time, am actually happy with what has been created. And, of course, meeting so many interesting and helpful writerly people whose insight has seriously helped improve The Tipping Point has been amazing this year.
I’ve learned much about how other writers write – and the value of this cannot be understated. Not only the realisation that the frustrations and self-doubt are entirely normal for the writer, but also the technical aspects… so many fresh perspectives, tips, styles… being able to bounce ideas off others – all this has been fantastic to one who spent years writing alone in her shed.
I’m very happy with the online (and offline) friends made on Authonomy and think, if nothing else, it has made being a part of that website worthwhile. I now have more writers on my Facebook friends list than any other kind of person and this brings me joy. These are people who will instantly feedback on request to a written scene, idea or even scream of panic… because these are people who understand – which is again, something that I did not have in my pre-Authonomy existence.
On a less positive note, 2009 has shown me that on a personal level I perhaps think too much, over-analyse, cogitate rather more ardently than is wise… and I have been told – several times and by several people – I am too open, too demanding, too bloody transparent… ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur. If nothing else, it has been a surprise to find in 2009 I am far closer in nature to my youthful self than I realised. However, this is not necessarily a Good Thing.
I became far less cynical over 2009 – and really, I needed that – but, as any biologist knows, a creature temporarily without shell is incredibly vulnerable and whilst I flatly refuse to return to my pre-2009 Cynical State no matter how many mightier creatures try to eat my soft flesh, I will approach the forthcoming year with a more wary eye.
But! It is the 31st December… time for renewal and exorcism of Past Follies. I will enter 2010 far happier than I entered 2009. I start this new year with one full draft of a novel, of which I am quite proud, and which is currently being given the once-over by the Great Osiander; a detailed outline for a new novel – my farce, La Folie – which I am really going to have some fun writing; and some lovely new Real Life writer friends and a whole host of interesting, witty & knowledgeable Virtual ones.
Cheers! And Happy, Successful New Year to all!
Free, that is, from the constraints of literary fiction. The farce is proving a real pleasure to work on due, I think, partly to the fact that it’s plot-driven – which is a *lot* of fun – and partly because the characters must be unexplored and so the usual resultant angst from over-analysing the human condition is just not applicable here. It’s a veritable literary romp!
My natural tendency is to delve deep into a character’s psyche – work out why they are so evil/miserable/manipulative whatever – but this is just not required for a farce. Here the characters can be extreme, have serious defaults in their characters, and yet at no point do I, the writer, need to over-think this… the characters just are.
I am having such a lot of fun with this book. Knowing there are no lines which cannot be crossed, knowing that characters can be utterly crazy without explanation, knowing that the unfeasible is utterly feasible, and knowing that the more layers of mayhem the better… all makes for a great writing experience.
Of course I have no idea yet whether a farce *can* work as a novel. The plot to La Folie reads very much like a play – and, in fact, takes place mainly in one location – and there are certain elements which I know would work beautifully on stage or film but which may not be easy to transmit in narrative… but until I begin the actual writing I can’t see how (or if) all the elements I want to incorporate will actually work in novel form.
But I’m having such a bloody good time planning this thing I’m not going to fret about how it comes together until I start to *put* it together. At the moment I’m writing a detailed, scene-by-scene synopsis. Plot is everything – and the complex strands of mistaken identities, increasing mayhem and things just plain old going wrong is my focus right now. The basic plot is quite simple, it’s the layers of additional confusion/relationships that take the effort… far more complicated than you might think to get those elements right and timed to perfection.
Writing should start in a couple of days. I can sense ‘The Zone’ has almost been reached… leave food and drink at the door please and Do Not Disturb!