Yeah so I’m hiding behind the sofa. I’ve lobbed the laptop out of the window and I’m hiding where no one can find me. Specifically where the laptop and the story can’t find me because the story needs to find someone else to write it and the laptop is full of drivel.
Yes, I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. I thought I was making progress with the novel – another 2500 words written in the last few days – but then I read a bit back and oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
Basically I’m floundering. I set off with an idea and a plan that – if I was writing a short story – would have been perfectly adequate but for a novel kind of leaves me high and dry. I’ve now written myself beyond the point where I had a plan and, although I know roughly where I’m going, I have lots of plot strands that I have no idea how to pull together. Honestly I’m starting to wonder if I have it in me to write a novel at all.
In contrast to this, I write quite a bit of flash fiction these days and one of the things I love about that is that the focus is small. You’re not trying to pull a zillion different strands together. You can go for simplicity and purity and intensity. You can work on the same couple of lines and hone them from a rough lump of rock to a smooth, gleaming pebble. I wrote a piece of flash fiction for my blog earlier this week. I didn’t work on it for long enough to get it smooth and gleaming (not even close) but even in the space of an hour I saw it go from an idea, to a rough outline, to a story that I thought was quite touching. And that was so satisfying, you know? And I compare that to how I’m currently feeling about my novel and it makes me wonder what on earth I’m doing. Maybe novel writing is not for me? Maybe I should work on improving my skills in other departments. I always did love a short story.
But then, I’ve come this far. I’ve written over 50,000 words. And I have other book ideas swimming round in my head too. I can’t just give up all my dreams of becoming a novelist now can I? Surely not. If someone could give me a hearty kick up the bum (metaphorically speaking, of course) I’d be very appreciative.