Terrible song references, Dystopian fiction and the novel that appeared in a dream.

In practically every book on writing there’s a section that tells you to write every day, so here I am, writing at 7.30 (!) on a Wednesday morning to keep the creative part of my brain active.

For the first part of my novel I wrote the entire draft in two weeks, in every spare moment I had: the twenty minutes before I left for work in the morning, the couple of hours after dinner in the evening. It was an awful piece of writing but I enjoyed myself. But what made me so creative? I felt a tad nostalgic today and so I had a look backwards for an explanation.

I grew up in a small quaint marine village named Tollesbury. As a country girl, born and raised (I’m desperately trying not to sing the lyrics to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) I spent most of my childhood reading anything I could get my hands on. Every summer the mobile library would visit the village and the school children would be carted over the road in groups, some eager, some not so much, to explore this tiny van for something that enticed their little beady eyes. It was in this van that I would nearly always participate in the summer book challenge where, in six weeks, the child was expected to read six books to win a DVD or CD to rent.

Skip ten years ahead and I was reading in university, where reading was deemed paramount to success, only the books were boring and far too heavy for me to actually enjoy. I still enjoyed young adult books, dystopian fiction about female protagonists, something that was very much frowned upon as an educated adult. Although, somehow Fifty Shades of Grey was deemed better? That’s an argument for another time.

Meanwhile, I was studying animation and the art of storytelling. Everything I saw was broken down into frames, camera angles and storylines. I learnt about archetypes, Propp’s and Todorov’s theory and suddenly everything began to form this complex formula for success.

It’s 2016 and real life had become monotonous and repetitive, so I decided to get lost in a story, one that had spanned from an intricate dream.

I’d had an idea roaming around my mind for a while, one that incorporated nearly every paranormal TV series, film and book I’d ever laid my eyes on. One day, after a particularly vivid dream about a particular plot line, I actually plucked up the courage to speak to my partner about the story my bizarre little brain had conjured up.

Thrilled that I was doing something other than moping around the flat he helped me develop the idea, bringing my characters to life with incredible back stories and possible future storylines. Together, in one afternoon, we nearly filled my phone memory with notes and had to revert to old school pen and paper just to get the ideas documented before it was lost to the abyss of forgotten plot lines.

Two weeks later and here I am, holding the first draft which is a huge achievement. Now all I have left to do is edit my work, which my friends Louise, Lucy and Charlotte have agreed to scrutinise once I’m ready to be vulnerable.
It’s exciting and a little nerve-racking but I think eventually, if I keep my mind focused, I may actually finish this novel!


1 comment

  1. Wow. I have never ever done that. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the odd one out—everyone tells stories about reading anything and everything under the sun during childhood and teen hood, and then finally getting the nerve to set pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and write a book when they’re older. Me…I was writing novels in second grade. I never got anything done, or anything that was actually *good* for that matter, but I was still always writing more than I was reading. Now there are so many articles about how to get *started*…I just wanna know how to finish!

    There was one project I finished, way back when, and I still think it’s my greatest writing achievement to date—10K words on how the civilizations from our galaxy and our real life neighbor galaxy collaborated in the future to avoid dying when the galaxies collided (again, scientific fact). It actually came out pretty good. If horrendously short. And horrendously plotted. And no editing whatsoever (which makes it a nightmare to read). And of course, never published. I was too young to even try, really.

    Liked by 1 person

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