Thursday, 25 March 2010

What happened in 1983?

Work continues apace on “Project Gash” and I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours the day before last researching pop culture in 1982 and 1983. I should explain - the teenager parts of the book, where they find the gash, experience bullying and things set themselves up to be played out in adulthood, will take place in 1983. I have a diary from that time period (like my characters, I was 14 that year), but it’s very focussed on me and home and school (and the birth of my kid sister, Sarah), so it’s not as revealing of the times as I’d hoped. Instead, I’ve used the Internet, cross-referencing different sites to find out the music and films and TV - the reason I went back to ’82 is because, obviously, you don’t just concentrate on the new.

In the past, a big part of my struggle with writers block has been this perceived need to note things to the nth degree and, whilst that’s not the worst thing in the world, it also means that you pre-think everything. Great set pieces, run around in your head for months, never quite work on paper and plot holes - which you’ll work through as you get to them - suddenly seem insurmountable. Worse, in my case, you start to question the validity of the whole thing - “you’re going to write a story about this? Are you mad?”. So to that end, I intend to get enough notes together to figure out where I’m going and then crack on, to see where it leads me. If I find some blind alleys, so be it - but I also know that there will be sections where I quite literally fly free, where the characters start to tell the story for me and then I’ll know I’m on the right track.

Plus, this is a novella - I’m aiming for about 30-35k in first draft, to come down to approx. 25k or so in ensuing drafts. I reckon this will probably take me (based in previous experience) about 70 days. I’m unsure about whether to blog on the process of the writing - my friend
Gary McMahon is doing that and he seems to be finding it a bind - but I’ll keep you updated one way or another.

In other news, I won’t be at WHC this weekend and, believe you me, I’m kicking myself about it!

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