Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Summer of Secrets

This weekend I did something quite extraordinary. I let the launch shows of Big Brother and X Factor pass me by. Does this mean I am growing?

I am writing hard and there have been some developments but none that I can confirm quite yet. Sweet Little Lies was due to be out in October but that has been pushed back to February 2012. Sweet Little Lies is a love triangle story about an unexploded bomb lying in the past.

I look back on my oeuvre (yes, I said oeuvre) and realise how many twists there are in what I write. Is that why I sometimes find it exhausting? But how can I find it exhausting you might well ask, lying under my duvet making my fingers tap over a keyboard. And the truth is, I don't know. The whole truth is that some days, the best of days, it is not tiring at all and hours can race happily by until I emerge sweating and hungry and full of beans.

But there are always days when you feel tired, tired of ironing out the wrinkles in your plot and the unexpected difficulties around a certain chapter. People tackle this in different ways. I know a writer who breaks down his book before he starts into a series of incidents and chooses which one to write every day, only putting his book in chronological order when he has completed the bulk of the work. That would drive me INSANE, and I suspect I would be left with a bit of a mess when I was done. I know another who writes the emotion they are trying to convey on a index card and writes towards that emotion with every sentence, the index card pulling her forward. I tried that once but my books are quite dark and so I soon found myself utterly depressed because I was spending all day sitting at a desk littered with index cards labelled DISGRACE, SHAME, MISERY, HEARTBREAK and so on because the parts about LOVE, TRUST, JOY are the easy parts to write. And so for me that is the answer, to find the trust beneath the disgrace, the joy that follows the misery and the love in the heartbreak, to treat my characters with infinite compassion. I created them after all. Hubris, that's the answer. There is so much in life that we cannot control, wrestle with the thing that you are writing, word by word, bird by bird, and win.

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