Sunday, 24 January 2016

Like painting tower bridge!

Reviewing and indeed almost re-writing past novels in my Upper Grumpsfield series is exhausting and I'm really quite glad to be working on the 9th in the series. I didn't really intend to write beyond the original novel, but started as a call came from the community site NANOWRIMO to enter a novel written in November. 'Thirty days hath November' becomes hard reality when you want to write a novel in that short space of time, but I did manage to write one, partly because I also had a set of strong characters from the original saga to help me along. I had caught the bug. I love writing, and especially novels, where I had enjoyed poetry and short story writing before.

I did not know then that I would continue with the novel series, but I have started the ninth, again with optimism, but without a time-limit, so I've set myself one. The novel has to be finished by the end of March, because I think there will be a race to complete one during April (again for that community) and I do it the hard way, writing original material, though I imagine that many cheat about that!

The haste with which the novels have to be written - and with no editor to make sure I'm not making avoidable blunders - means that all the novels written for the community (and anyway) have to be reviewed, and have been more than once already. But this time round I have been including a little love element - is it sex? - nothing very explicit, mind you. Grown-ups can read between lines and the books are not meant for children (who can). I am still keeping to my vow to keep off expletives unless extremely necessary and out of the mouth of a character. Descriptions of love scenes are carefully distributed and quite modest by current standards. What the pairs get up to when I'm not around is really up to them.

I have now at last started a reference card system of characters. Many have been introduced in the first book of the series. Some have been killed off, while some still have a fair amount of shelf-life left. I hope to use some of those characters.

Working backwards I have added love interest to all the earlier books (except the first, which is still under review), whereby I am astonished at how much the two main lovers have been developing their affair almost from their first meeting. It is sometimes as if I have left spaces for love-scenes, so easily do they fit into the chapters. That has made life easier.

The books are not autobiographical, but I sometimes feel quite familiar about scenes I am describing. That is the cathartic part of writing books. The hard grind is keeping at it until a book is finished,but I am so glad to be back at the computer writing, that it never seems to become a chore and I leave many other things aside so that I can get on with my project in hand. Maybe it's symptomatic of novel writing that the characters become the author's friends. Some become enemies or a nuisance and have to be done away with. You can't do that in real life, can you?

Yes you can, without resorting to violence! I dropped someone I had known for a long time well over two years ago because she accused me of lying about my career as an opera singer (which I could easily disprove just on the internet, let alone all my programmes, posters and photos etc.) and in fact about everything in my whole life (how absurd - but she is admittedly congenitally stupid). It was her problem. She belongs to that kind of person who thinks life owes them something! The word 'work' is not in her vocabulary, and 'practice' is something she would not do because she thinks she knows everything and can do everything. What bliss to have so much self-confidence. The Germans would say "Schwamm drĂ¼ber", which translates to "sponge over it". Not very charming, but actually a very good way of saying "forget it" or "don't waste your breath". Why was I friendly with her all those years? Because I pitied her lack of energy and ambition and thought I could help her use some of her ability. But there are people you can't help. Schools are full of them. Life is full of them. They don't want your help. You have to write them off if you want to move on yourself. That happened to my marriage, too, but that's another story...No doubt about it: There's enough character motivation round every corner!

The project this time includes alongside the new novel a complete review of the first novel in the series, to exploit the love interest and to consolidate some of the chapters. Instructions for reading are given. The process will be a slow one, as nearly 150 thousand words went into that first saga, which I have tried and failed to divide into 2 or even 3 novels. After all, it was written in one fell swoop. I may be luckier this time, but I think I will be shortening rather than splitting up the novel.

I should point out in connection with the person I deleted from my life that many people get on fine without energy or ambition if that's how they want their lives and have the resources (in this case inherited) to do so. She never had to work, so she doesn't! I can never understand it, but I suppose it takes all sorts...,

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