I have returned to the Writers Bureau course.
My disappointment and frustration at not having presented a short story that received my tutors “good enough to submit” comment, had led me to down tools with regard to following the course material. Having seen that assignment F5 did not give me an opportunity to try again but rather focused on novel-writing I simply pushed it to the vast desert like land that is the back of my mind, my mental airing cupboard* if you like.
*technical reference authors have for the place where work is stored whilst awaiting final editing
You see, my perfectionist self was whispering to me all the time that I could not consider a novel until I had a short story published. This do not pass go attitude stems, I am sure, from a childhood where Sunday afternoons were designated family board or card games and the TV was banished to the loft for the Christmas period.
So I have wallowed in my self-tutoring and learnt from my new Creative Writing Group Friends. I have worked on my novel, following on the advice of several Kindle published friends whose work I admire. I did adopt the let your pen tell the story approach and wrote most of the first 2 chapters of my book.
I have also submitted a story to Fiction Feast as readers of this blog know, this was the cause of the earth’s tremor I recorded on August 25th’s blog – Assignment 4 Completed and Where Am I Now. Incidentally my carefully nurtured contact within reader services has confirmed receipt of my story and has passed it to the esteemed Fiction Editor.
My novel has lost its way, there I was merrily letting my creativity flow, refusing to re-read and edit until much further in to the story, but the voice was not the voice of my hero. I was suddenly telling the tale through the eyes of one of my bit part characters. The alarm bell sang out, my mental foot slammed on the brake and I dramatically drew to a halt.
The subtle whispers of my perfectionist self (or is it my self-doubt self?) were back screaming at me quietly “see you’re not like them, you can’t do it. It’s gone wrong already.”
However, I have finally grown up after 4 decades of listening to the whispers, and so I banished those same whispers that killed my earliest ever ambition to write stories (see the Secret Story) and I returned to the Writers Bureau Book 7 modules 21 and 22. For within these books lays my blueprint, and I need a blueprint. If I had been a boy I would have thrived on the Haines manuals and followed the instructions and repaired my cars myself!
I had not planned my novel well enough, and just as the modules foretell, that is why it has lost its way so early. I am now three-quarters through my synopsis and recognise I have some work to do with the middle of my book before I move on to the “let your pen do the work, just write part.” I am enjoying writing my character profiles and realise that I should, as advised by one of my new Creative Writing Group friends, adopt a planning process to my short stories as well.
The moral of this tale is, find your own way. What works for one will not always work for you, but it will if you personalise it. Draw energy and enthusiasm from others involved in the same pursuit, never let their successes make you doubt yourself, always draw faith in your own ability from the success of others.
So I have returned to the Writers Bureau course and assignment F5 is within my sight.
Me, I need to follow the rules.