It must be because I am, essentially, built for life in a fjord that I just can’t cope with hot weather. At the same time, I hate complaining about it, because it’s so rare in these parts. For the past couple of days we’ve been having a mini-heatwave (blue skies from horizon to horizon, barely a cloud, still and heavy air, baking in temperatures of 24 – 28 degrees Celsius, on average), and it completely threw my circuitry for a loop. Today it’s still dry, and warm, and heavy, but the sky is more like a huge greyish-white duvet and there’s a bit of a breeze.
So, I might actually be able to think today, and get stuff done.
I really do enjoy sitting in the shade with a book while my garden gently sizzles all around me, and it’s amazing to look up into an Irish sky and see it blue as cobalt. But at the same time it’s terrible to sit at your computer willing the blinking cursor to turn into words. I tried so hard to write a piece of flash fiction yesterday and no matter what I did, it just wouldn’t work. I tried prompts, of all kinds. I tried re-reading some of my old work to see if anything struck me, or if there was a half-finished idea anywhere which I could complete. I tried flipping a book to a random page and taking the first four words I saw as a sentence seed. I’d get about 200 words in, with no idea where the story was going, and then it would just fizzle out – pfft – like that.
So, basically, what I’m saying is: sorry for the lack of a blog post here yesterday. Be assured I fought a heroic battle. However, I lost – it’s bound to happen once in a while – and I was crushed flat by my own writer’s block.
I did manage to get some work done on ‘Web’, though, which was the day’s only saving grace. On that topic: you might remember me bleating on about wanting to change the narrative voice from third- to first-person a few days ago; well. As happens sometimes when you revisit something with a brain unaffected by heatstroke, you realise you were talking utter rubbish. I’ve decided to stick with the third-person for the time being; when I re-read what I’d done, it didn’t seem as bad as I’d remembered. I did try rewriting the first chapter in first-person, and somehow it made my protagonist seem much older and far more cynical than I want her to be. Maybe I was channelling myself (because I sure as heck felt old and cynical while I was writing it), but for whatever reason, it didn’t work as well as I’d imagined.
I think the book still needs a touch of first-person somewhere, though. I’m considering writing some sections in my antagonist’s voice, in first-person, and seeing if interspersing those with the rest of the narration would help.
Or maybe I should just finish the first draft and then see what the story needs.
All right, all right. Jeesh!
Anyway, I made a sketch (keeping things deliberately rough) of the rest of the book the other day – my desk is covered with Post-It notes, which seems to be my default way of working – and so I know I can finish this story. I know where I want it to go, in broad terms. I have Themes to cover and Important Things to say about sacrifice and friendship and love. I have (I think) the bones of an interesting tale with a striking protagonist and I’m writing in a genre that I’m not used to, which means it’s always interesting (if a little bit like walking a tightrope).
But one thing never changes: the work. It’s not easy getting a writhing story from your brain (where it seems like awesome squared) to paper, where it can sometimes feel flat and boring. I’ve got to give it my best shot, and there’s only one way to do that.
Quit complainin’, get my butt in the hot-seat (or, today, the pleasantly warm if a little overcast-seat), and write!
Catch y’all later. Good luck with whatever you’re working on, and may all your words be good ones.