Day 14: Can You Tell What It Is Yet?

Day 14.

Basically, no one told me you’re supposed to write this bitch in order. As such, I’ve ended up writing a somewhat shoddy section of prose, then realising I had to add an entire new section to it smack bam in the middle, and then another paragraph just there, and then that section had to be bumped back to that page, etc.

In my head, this sounded fine. I imagined the finished product would be something along the lines of one of those sliding tile puzzles you did when you were eight: (I heart this one of SuBo)

You know, it starts out as a mess, but gradually all the pieces come together into a beautiful image (granted, the above example is not really the image I was going for.)

Instead, my novel has been chopped up into so many little pieces and folded into itself so much, it’s more like the Christmas pudding mixture my Mama makes every year (as far back as I can remember, she mixes all the ingredients together in the biggest bowl you’ve ever seen, then lets each of the children take it in turn to stir it and make a wish for the year ahead.) So, essentially, my novel is all a big mish mash, but it smells sort of nice, and I’m left standing over it with a spoon making a desperate wish that it turns into something vaguely readable at some point. Only, now I’ve gone and told you my wish so it won’t come true. Bollocks.

Complicated recipes are best left well away from me, as everything that can go wrong will. (Yes, I am keeping going with this cookery metaphor. Go with it.) As a result, I’m sure my plot has got holes in it, my characters might have curdled a bit, the story itself has gone a bit stringy and the overall look is nothing like the picture I had in my head. This is very scary: what do I do? Start again? Persevere? Sprinkle it with icing sugar and hope no one notices? Or radically change tack? If the latter – to what? Can’t you tell I’m clueless?! This is my first novel! (And breeeeeeeathe.)

Basically, it stands at around 6,000 words. I have no idea how many of these will remain in the finished version.

In other novel-related news, I’m still wondering how ‘together’ and clean this thing is supposed to sound? How do you make things sound like real life, when real life itself is so utterly, utterly random (if you want it to be)? I find myself all too often engaging in actions I feel people may find so bizarre that it would seem mental to assign them to any character I could create. Who else has heated debates with seven year olds they’ve only just met about Winnie the Pooh in Latin (and loses!)? Or finds herself walking along the Thames on a Saturday night while her friend reads out all the jokes on the back of a bag of Penguin bars? Or finds a ripe nectarine in their jewellery box while tidying up, with absolutely no idea how it got there?

All of these things have happened to me in the past week. And it’s these little moments of utter absurdity that get me through the day – they are my lifeblood. So, naturally, I want to write in a similar fashion, fully celebrating the fact that humanity can do absolutely bloody anything, and indeed it does. Life is so random, but that just means the possibilities for my book are endless. I want to learn how to get the balance right between a true-to-life level of invigorating daily randomness running throughout my book, and a convincing, solid story. Life should be anything but boring, and the same goes for writing. I’m just scared that means my book will be impossible to follow and latch on to so it can be fully enjoyed.

Oh, halp.

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