My current WIP is giving me grief.

OK, so the whole writing thing is giving me grief. I took a year off, for various reasons, and getting back in the swing of things is hard. But that's not the basic problem with my current WIP.

It started, as so many stories do, as a very simple thought. I've been living in Wales for almost ten years now, and I've met a lot of people during that time. Locals born and bred; incomers from the seventies who came here to drop out and are basically still falling; downsizers who watched too much Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and thought living the good life would be easy in a place that gets ten feet of rain a year; people like me who followed a partner with a good job only to discover that there's not much in the way of interesting employment in these parts. Then there's the tales I've heard of the things these people get up to: the car-key parties; the polytunnels in remote areas used for the growing of recreational drugs; the disaffected yoof stealing cars from the big towns and then hooning around the forestry in them until someone hits a tree. There's a thousand different people and a thousand different stories, and so I thought I might weave one of my own from this rich source.

I quite quickly came up with a cast of characters that I think work well - no-one too obviously drawn from my circle of friends and acquaintances. The basic storyline presented itself to me some months ago as I was waiting for the Horse Doctor's car to be serviced, and I duly scribbled it down in my notebook. But since then I've been staring at the screen, at the blank surface of my whiteboard, at endless pages of useless scribbling on various random sheets of A4 paper, and wondering what the hell happens and how.

It should be easy. I know how it starts and I know how it ends. I know who my main protagonist is, and what's happened to her to get her where she is at the beginning. I know what needs to happen to her to get to the end. I just can't for the life of me think of an interesting way of making it happen.

Part of the problem is of my own making, as usual. A chunk of the plot hinges around something that happened a long time ago. Obviously my main protagonist knows nothing of this, and will spend most of the book finding it out. But how to do that without endless scenes of sitting around a kitchen table drinking tea, or in a pub drinking beer, and being told about old so-and-so and the goings-on at such-and-such a place? I need the pieces of the puzzle to be revealed through action and discovery rather than passive telling. And of course it's a story, so the past will inevitably try to repeat itself. But getting my head around the mechanics of this gradual reveal is not as easy as it once was. Too many other things taking up valuable brain processing power, methinks.

And so I continue to stumble, skirting around the problem, leaving it alone for a while and going off to do something else in the hope that the pieces will all fall together of their own accord. So far that hasn't worked. In two months I've written about three thousand words, half of which are of no use at all. And now I'm reduced to blogging about it rather than getting on with sorting the whole mess out.

Time, I think, for a cup of tea.


Jo said…
I am just glad to know you're writing again following the enforced hiatus. xxx
Anonymous said…
ditto what jo said. glad you are writing again...



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