Crisis Management

 

First off, let me apologise to anyone who has been following this blog, as I haven’t posted anything for five weeks now. This is why.

In the last week of February, I had a complete crisis of confidence in the entire concept of rewriting my book, Stolen Lives. I have no idea why this occurred. I was sailing along quite nicely, and then suddenly awoke one day to find myself questioning everything I was doing: plotlines seemed trite and unrealistic, characters boring and my prose style derivative.Alien

To make matters worse, it transpired that during the course of a few days in which my concentration faltered, I had managed to advance two different drafts of the novel on separate computers, so I no longer had a master copy and was forced to go through each version with a fine toothcomb in order to sift out the new additions I had made. After a couple of days of trying to unravel this, despair and depression kicked in.

Experience has taught me that when this happens, the best thing to do is to forget about writing for a while and to concentrate on my life. Spending time with my children is the number one panacea for depression, closely followed by peaceful walks in the countryside (although, given the ages of The Ratlings, the two activities are mutually exclusive – I said peaceful walks).

Watching favourite films is another. (My top five, alphabetically listed, would consist of Alien, Aliens, Jaws, The French Connection and This is Spinal Tap, although the list might vary were you a romantically unattached woman I was trying to impress.)

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I didn’t do much writing on the new draft of Stolen Lives during March and, as a consequence, have not had anything to blog about.

However, that is not to say I haven’t been thinking and worrying about the wretched book constantly during this period. Once a book is started, I don’t think a writer can ever really turn it off, which is perhaps why the process is so draining. George Orwell likened writing a book to suffering from a long and debilitating illness, and I can certainly empathise with that sentiment giving that this is now the fourth version of Stolen Lives.

Anyway, the break has done me good. My confidence is back online. My concentration is definitely back online, as at the weekend I managed to write 3,000 words while dealing with the explosive after effects of a tummy bug that had laid both my children low.

The break has also given me time to allow the outline of certain characters to sharpen in my mind. The novel’s primary antagonist is now a far stronger character, with elements of tragedy in his back story which will serve as the point of detonation for the book’s finale. (As discussed elsewhere, I always aim to end my books with a bang rather than a whimper.)

I’ll post again over the weekend and let you know how I am getting on. Time is a real factor now, as my deadline for delivering the new draft is June, so I’d better sit down and work out exactly where I am with this project and how much is left to do.

Cheers

All the best

Matthew

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