I’m not used to my writing life being this way, but it’s slow going right now. When we last talked, two weeks ago, I was on 13,000 words. Today I am only on 20,000 words. 7,000 word progression in two weeks. That’s poor.
I told you last time that this book was tangling me up in knots and I was not wrong. It’s the start of a new series for me and I’m being ambitious with it. I may be exceeding my capability, but I need to stretch myself or I will never grow as a writer and once it’s written, with the help of a good editor I will be able to knock it into some kind of shape that will hopefully be readable.
I watched Aaron Sorkin’s Masterclass – these classes you can buy online – this week and he gave me an idea for how I could get out of this deadlock I seem to have found myself in. So I have a vague plan of action for the vague outline of a story I am writing. Maybe this time next week I will be able to tell you I have broken through this inactivity and I am now raring ahead, but somehow I have a feeling this whole project will be the tortoise’s race.
I’ve watched the first season of Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix over the past couple of weeks and the writing on that is brilliant. I finished it yesterday. I aspire to have a story mind like the people who make brilliant programmes like this and who are able to hang them all together the way they do. The Aaron Sorkin Masterclass gave me an insight into how the US writers rooms work, how there are many writers and they push ideas off each other, whereas I only have myself to work with. But when it comes down to it, only one person can write the actual words. (I think.) I could do with that right now. Someone to bounce ideas off, it might help me with the forward momentum of this book. But writing a novel is a solitary process and it’s one we have to bear. I will blunder on.
I have news on the standalone that is out on submission with agents. It has had a couple of rejections. This is normal. It has also had a rejection with a caveat that if it was rewritten it could be resubmitted. The agent found an area of disbelief they couldn’t get around, so if I wrote it differently they would be happy to read it again as they liked my writing. I find this a little funny, the discrepancy between TV and books, and how TV can get around the suspension of disbelief a lot more than books can. You just have to look at Line of Duty for that. (And I’m not even watching this season. One season was enough for me.) But it was great news for me anyway, that the agent liked my writing. It was a boost to my self-esteem that a gatekeeper liked the way I write.
And that’s where I am at the moment. Let me know in the comments what your week has been like. I’d love to hear from you.
Hi Rebecca. Good, honest post highlighting some of the issues that often get overlooked when people think about what novelists do. You’re spot-on about the sheer solitary nature of it and it’s difficult doing all the creative heavy-lifting on your own.
I’ve just started a poss TV comedy thing, collaborating with another writer and I have to say it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. The trick is finding someone on the same wavelength that you trust. You spur each other on and it’s like a constant relay, passing the baton back and forth.
The only trouble is . . . now I have to get back to writing my novel on my own! SO I feel your pain. Well done on the agent feedback too and I feel confident you’ll break the creative deadlock soon.
Rhiannon D'Averc says
Everyone around me gets the writer’s room treatment whether they like it or not. I’ll be typing away quietly, or eating dinner, or doing some other innocuous task and will suddenly look up and say, “Do you think it’s too creepy if the killer collects the foreskins of his victims?” to the horror of all involved.
(100% true story)
Doesn’t always help with ideas but at least hearing it out loud helps me decide whether I’m being ridiculous or not!
Terry Sibley says
7,000 words is not so bad. That’s still at least 500 a day. I’m sure plenty of authors will say better 500 good words than 1,000 forced poor words. I agree with your comments on Line of Duty which is so far over-the-top and so divorced from police procedure. Why TV screenwriters can get away with murder(!) and crime writers are not allowed the same latitude has always puzzled me!
Margot Kinberg says
Thanks for sharing this part of your journey, Rebecca. Little by little is the way it goes at times, and I’m glad you got the feedback that the agent you contacted liked your writing. Rejection is hard, but it’s always nice to get something positive from it if you can. At your own pace is the best way to go, and you’ll get there.
I always wish I had someone to, so if you ever want to skype…
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