- 'Intro' by The XX
- 'Human' by Daughter
- 'Landfill' by Daughter
- 'Winter' by Daughter
- 'Still' by Daughter
- 'Statues' by The Eden Project ft. Leah Kelly
- 'Elephant Stones' by The Stone Roses
- 'Crawling After You' by Bass Drum of Death
I've almost finished planning my next novel and throughout that time, I've had to keep reminding myself that there's nothing wrong with how I work. This is because I've been reading loads of articles in Writing Magazine where authors explain how they work and other writers telling us how to work. I'm always interested in learning how others get down to write, but it always makes me wonder if I'm doing it wrong. When I read 'Stephen King: On Writing', he explained how he planned a novel and his words made a lot of sense, but I'm not comfortable about abandoning my practices to try somebody else's without any guarantee of its success. I guess it's something that's been bothering me for a while.
What annoys me about articles about writing (at least 'how to do' ones), they always seem to talk down at me, as if I'm not good enough. I know that's in my head, but I can't help it. Maybe there's some truth to it. That's why I don't think I could ever write a 'how to write' book, I wouldn't want to talk down to anybody about something that should be fun and a means of escape. I think 'how to write' is generally a bullshit concept anyway, it's creative, rules shouldn't chain us down as much as they do. I think all you need to do is ask yourself where you want to be as a writer, and with your answer, you'll know. These rules you find such as 'don't use adverbs' and use 'said to follow dialogue' should be seen more as guidelines than anything else. You can follow them if you want. Hell, tons of other authors don't. But, you don't need to do what most authors do. Mind you, those two guidelines mentioned above are damn handy. Anyway, I've digressed. I've always felt quite envious of authors who say, and rather smugly I think, that they can write a novel on the fly and let the characters carry the story. Stephen King is one such author. Fair enough to King, he knows his chops and he's written more than enough to have the confidence to do so. Me? I need a plan, a need a safety net otherwise I can't get going. I wrote my novella without a plan, but I did have a general idea where the story would go and I knew the main theme. Mind you, novellas are much shorter and easier for me to write without a plan.
I write down the story in a notebook and summarize the chapters. The plan itself is quite vague and it usually sounds boring, but I know that when I get down to write the book, I'll find the guts of the story and there I can get going. The plan is just a safety net, a reminder that the story can go somewhere. And anyway, I know that when I start writing it, things will change and I'll turn away from my plan and take different routes because I'll probably know the best natural place to start the next chapter which I wouldn't know as much when planning it. When writing, things happen I could never plan for and they are usually better than the plan anyway.
I'd never tell anybody how to write their book, it's probably best that you find out for yourself. Quite often, I've found trying somebody else's techniques have left me pissed off because they didn't work for me. I'm trying to learn not to get influenced by 'how to write' articles, instead just learning from my mistakes, from reading novels, from writing and from the writer's group I go to. Then again, sometimes it's the way some writers tell their advice that annoys me, like I said earlier, smug. That's only a few though. I'm not great with advice, I don't have the answers and believe me, I'd like to know them. I just do what works for me. And that's all that matters. As long as you're working in a way that you find comfortable, then that's all you need.
Songs of the Week: