One-Trick Pony



The 25th January 2016 is the first anniversary of the date I self-published my début novel, International Relations (I should be writing this post on Monday, but nobody reads blogs on Mondays, something to do with having a job? I know, selfish. So…here we are…on a Saturday). Anyhoo, I thought to myself, do I really want to write an anniversary post about that? And the answer was a resounding ‘no’. I don’t especially care that a year has gone by. And if I don’t, there’s no reason that you should. But what I do want to talk about is where one is supposed to go from here. And by ‘one’, I mean me. In the very near future, this trilogy will be done and dusted. It will be time to write something entirely new. The problem is, as the saying goes, I got nothin‘.

The real issue I’m struggling with, is that it was such an incredibly long time ago that I came up with the idea for my current series, that I’ve forgotten the process. I can’t remember how those initial sparks of inspiration even come about. I can’t imagine I ever sat down and drew a lovely pie-chart or a graph or a spider diagram mapping out what I wanted to achieve. I’ve always flown by the seat of my pants. The only thing I do recall was that I’d just had my first child, I was on maternity leave and I wanted to constructively fill my baby’s two hour daily nap time with something creative. And I know I called on childhood ideas from when I used to write in my teens. I sat down in our home-office (we stopped having an office once my second child was born) and I pulled up a Microsoft word document and that was the starting point. But that was some time ago – and what does a 44 year old woman actually write about, I wonder? I’m vastly more experienced and worldly-wise than I was. Well, y’know, kinda’…

I have become irritated with the phrase, ‘writers block’. It’s overused, a bit hackneyed and doesn’t really sum up a feeling I’ve ever experienced. If I had a story plan, I’d be good to go. Once I know roughly what I’m supposed to be writing about, I’m a bit of a machine. I only suffer with ‘lack of time’. But you see, for my future venture, I don’t have a plan and I’m wondering whether I really ought to? I’m actually putting off sitting down and brainstorming a strategy about what to write next. I keep telling myself, ‘well, I’m a starter-completer (it’s a thing) and I simply must finish this project before I can contemplate a new one’. I’m just slightly concerned that when I do get around to researching the next project, nothing will be forthcoming. Nada. Perhaps that is writers block, but I really feel I just need the initial idea and then I’ll be off like a rabbit out of the traps. I mean, it isn’t like I don’t know how to write any more; I’m editing all the time – rewriting and adding in huge chunks of story. But putting together something completely new with a completely different backdrop and completely different characters? Eeek.

The only thing I’m certain about is that I don’t want to write a romantic novel next time. I don’t particularly want to be pigeon-holed or typecast or boxed into a corner. I can be diverse. I think. I’ve discovered in the last year that I can write really banal and inane blogs that have virtually nothing to do with love or relationships. I know, I was surprised too. So that’s an indication to me that I’m capable of other things. Not that there’s anything wrong with romantic fiction; it’s the biggest seller of all genres and it’s vastly underrated at times. I for one was bored of reading bad romantic fiction so thought I’d have a stab at it myself. And there’s an art to getting the chemistry between two people right. It’s astounding to me that some fiction in that genre lacks that chemistry at all; the relationships frustratingly rushed or highly unlikely or just a bit disappointing. I’m not saying I’ve perfected that art, but when you do (and I reiterate, I’m not saying I did [but I think I did]), it’s like alchemy. A certain kind of magic happens if you get it right. But like it or not, the powers that be don’t rate romantic fiction. There ain’t no Booker or Pulitzer Prize for the likes of us (maybe because we’re a bit too free and easy with the word ain’t [its okay, I’m a cockney – and it’s my birthright]). But that’s not the only reason I want to cross the genre-border. I don’t read a great deal of romantic fiction, although I’m always happy when an author crowbars a romantic dalliance in. I mainly read fantasy, if I’m honest, and wonder if I would have any aptitude for writing that. Although I’ve a interest in writing murder mystery too. Which to choose, which to choose…

Anyway, maybe it doesn’t matter right now. This current project isn’t done yet so perhaps my ordered, black-and-white brain won’t allow me to move on until it is. Or maybe I am that archetypal one-trick pony; my writing career over before it really started. You just can’t live off one idea for the rest of your life. Maybe I’ll just end up being a blogger – I still, more or less, manage to pull these posts out of the bag at the nth hour (just about). But I love and always have been in love with escapism, and there’s nothing like the feeling of creating your own imaginary place with your own imaginary people who live in it. It even surpasses reading fiction (which I also love, just to be clear). I hope that need to create another world, that desire to invent another reality when my own is a bit too much to cope with, will win out in the end. I guess only time will tell. Right, I’m off to write a highly detailed food shopping list, because that’s about as much creativity as I can muster. That’s right, still got nothin‘.


 

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18 thoughts on “One-Trick Pony

  1. You have so much there I’ll only say this: Don’t be discouraged and don’t run yourself down. You’ve done one novel, so you can do more than one. You need simply to settle on what you will do.

    It may take some time to determine what it will be. Sometimes the best thing to do is just let it go for a bit. Don’t fret over it.

    It is no great badge of honour to write numerous books that are mostly mediocre. We see that all around us, though. Far better to produce fewer good novels that leave your readers craving more. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I saw that movie where the horse is insane enough to jump off of a high dive you wouldn’t catch me dead on!
    I have a favorite saying which I follow (most of the time) and works (most of the time) relax and let the universe take care of it. Take care:)

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  3. Like yourself, I like to have a plan but sometimes that’s just not how it pans out, and going with it is the only way ahead. Whatever is next will show itself eventually, I know that’s all a bit fatalistic, but I’ve discovered this to be fairly true of a mind which is always searching and seeking. For me ‘writers block’ is always the equivalent of ‘trying too hard’. That is thinking too much, needing to map out what I’m going to do or needing to have an idea of what I want to focus on. Occasionally my brain needs a rest, it needs to be allowed to find it’s own way without me beating it with a big stick, and when I do, I usually have my best ideas (in my opinion only). I recently thought I was nearing the end of a first draft of a manuscript. It is based on a freak flash of an idea I had in the genre of travel fiction / adventure – an area I never thought I would write about but felt very compelled to explore having had said flash of inspiration.However, this week, nearing the end, I was fairly chilled and looking forward to getting that last chapter down, when suddenly from nowhere the whole plot changed. Yep, the WHOLE PLOT! It didn’t just change, I also negotiated with myself and agreed to run with that change in the space of about ten seconds, at 4 am, as one does :-s And so it is, plans can be overrated, because giving ourself space and time to see what evolves means that we allow ourselves the privilege of exploration, and any explorer will tell you, more often than not it is the unknown which proves to be the great adventure. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s really interesting, Jay. I’ve had that happen where a huge swathe of plot changed very late on. And you think, why didn’t I see that avenue was better before? Gotta’ trust in the process! Thanks for reading (and sharing) x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just chillax Adele, you haven’t got writer’s block. If your muse is not inspired yet, then so be it. You can’t sit down and expect to crap out any load of hoo-hah if you’re not motivated with a great idea first.

    Try giving yourself some constraints and see if something goes ‘DING’ in your head.
    A romantic fantasy, murder mystery, about a blogger who must write a new novel in three months or her heart explodes? © Jack Volante

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Write from the deepest, rawest place inside you. Write what you’re most inspired by and passionate about. What’s most important to you these days?

    Also, maybe fiddle about until you find your footing. Next big project doesn’t HAVE to be “War & Peace,”does it? Stretch out your brain like taffy until you find the right elasticity.

    How about write a series of poems?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Aleks, I’m feeling a bit more positive about it now. I’ve been writing all my life in one form or another so surely it should be ingrained in me. Oh, and I don’t do poetry – I leave that to other people! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      • I said it before: good writers are usually good storytellers. You’re a great storyteller, Adele. You have been blessed with a natural gift for communicating your thoughts through writing.

        Poetry isn’t every writer’s cup of tea obviously. I enjoy it, although I enjoy writing prose more. It’s a good way to exercise literary skills I think. It can help hone prose writing skills. It’s after all a stylized version of prose. Still, I understand a writer’s choice to stay closer to their wheelhouse.

        Liked by 1 person

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