It happens to me every time I get the momentum to write a new book. I start writing and the story carries me into the lives of my characters, into the scenes I write, in front of them a little, so I know what’s about to happen. Sometimes. Other times I have no idea what I’m going to write until it comes out on the page.
I’m writing by hand, with pen and paper. This story just cried out to have the groundwork written by hand. When I say the groundwork, I mean the first draft, but I have a thing against the term ‘first draft’. What is a first draft? It is writing! Everything after that is rewriting or editing or the adding on of words. I’ve been known to scrap a whole chapter and write it again, but I still classify that as rewriting.
Inside a new book, as I am, everything that happens in my day is possible fodder to be included in the story. My husband cooking garlic and tomatoes for pasta, my cat standing on his one remaining back leg, trying to open the window, songs from the eighties being played on the radio, all of these things might just appear on my page, in the groundwork.
Some of what I write will end up having no place in the book. Some of it will turn out to be a distraction, a misuse of words, a dead end that I had to write at the time to get to the real story. Every word of the finished work must be in service of the story as a whole. Every character, setting, event and even the red herrings, must somehow service the story. This is the only way to write a delicious, fulfilling whole.
The great thing about writing with pen and paper is that I can do it anywhere, there are no batteries to go flat, I don’t have to keep saving it and in a strange way, I feel connected to the words in a way that I never do when typing them.
My book has a working title, but I’m not ready to share that just yet. I guess I think of it as book #6, but also as the book I’m writing after my divorce, after being single in my forties, after being remarried, and lots more. Life experiences definitely impact on my writing, and I wonder what I’m writing now that I wouldn’t have written say a month or a year ago. I know I have a different feel for what it’s like to be single, now that I’ve spent some time out there after a nineteen year marriage. I have a different feel for what it is to fall in love.
I’m much less mechanical about my writing than I used to be. I think because I spent time ghost writing and learned to trust myself that the words would get written as long as I kept at it daily. Years ago, I would write at the same time every day, seven days a week. I had a minimum word count for the day and would push my way to it. Now I just pour the words out as they come, I spend time every day just daydreaming about the book, the story, the characters, the theme. I’m really enjoying it.
I am looking forward to seeing what I write tomorrow, and I can’t wait until I have the whole book down. I love those two little words we writers constantly head towards; The End.
be you xx Rachel