Inspiration and Persistence
Or, how late it is, how late. With hindsight it sounds a bit pretentious to talk about a new ‘writing project’ when what I mean is that I’ve started a new novel. Sorry about that. It’s not even that new since I had the idea for it two years ago.
One of the downsides of writing a regular blog is that it’s all there; the hopes, the dreams, the plans - all laid out and ready to come back to bite you, especially when you realise how much time has gone by. What I hadn’t foreseen, when I originally said I’d started some new work, was that I would then do two rewrites of ‘Fighting the Tide’, turning it from a ‘light lunch’ to the ‘substantial meal’ an agent suggested, and then trimming 10,000 words out of it at the suggestion of an editor. Whilst there’s a danger in chopping and changing, the suggestions I was advised to make made sense and I’m happy with the version that’s out there. It’s now a question of waiting.
I’ve also completed the first year of a Diploma in Creative Writing with the OU and have signed up for the second and final year. What the course has done for me is to push me way outside my comfort zone and prove to me that I can produce good work even when the subject doesn’t especially inspire me or is so difficult that I want to walk away from it. By sticking with it I’ve produced all kinds of material; short stories, poetry, some life writing and surprised myself with the results.
I suppose what that demonstrates is that it’s not really about the initial spark for a piece of writing, but the keeping going. I don’t really have any problem thinking about what to write - ideas just arrive - the hardest part is choosing one and sticking with it. That’s not to say you should just start any old thing because if you don’t care about it you won’t want to write 100,000 words about it.
In October I’ll be back on my course and, no doubt, drawing on dark and difficult stuff and stretching myself again. But, until then, rather than agonising over which idea might be ‘best’, or trying to second guess what the market wants, I’ve decided to have some fun. I’ve launched into ‘Make, Do and Mend’, a novel with two female leads, Coralie, who makes green oak garden furniture, and Alys, who owns a small garden centre. It’s about making mistakes, doing something else and mending in the process. I’m going to see how far I can get by October. For now, it starts like this...
Things to do in June.
That’ll be the one that got away then, thought Coralie Dempsey as the bride faltered in her progression down the aisle to cast a doe-eyed and melting glance at the man at the end of the row. Coralie didn’t know the bride; she didn’t know the groom either. Attending the wedding of a couple she’d met only fleetingly wasn’t high on her ‘to do’ list. She was only there because the bride’s proud parents had insisted and declining their invitation would have been hurtful after all their kindness.
Being tucked away beneath a leaded clear-glass window at the back of the church suited Coralie just fine. But if the man at the other end of the pew had also been hoping to avoid drawing attention to himself, his plan had backfired the minute the bride had her moment of doubt right beside him. Square-shouldered and stubble-jawed with the kind of rugged good looks that would have made every Brontë hero seem positively girly, he looked as if he’d had every woman in the church – except, possibly, the vicar.
© Christine Stovell
Oh feck! The postman has just delivered a rejected short story. Well that's ruined the good mood! Bum and ten bums in a row!
Stop press 2!!
Oh feck!! What is this? National reject Chris day!! I've just had another short story rejected by email... do you think I should step away from the short stories now? No, it's all right. You don't need to say anything!
Paiting is 'Camaes Head' by Tom Tomos