Writing a book – the realism

Were you ever young and wondered were books really came from? How long did it take you to realise that it took endless, agonising hours for one individual to sit at a desk and type it all up, just for you to read?

For me, it took far too long.

I remember the first book I read interdependently: Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak. This is the novel that gave me a desire to do this on my own. I sat there and thought “I can do that!”, so, like the young naive, not even a teenager idiot that I was, I wrote a story about a boy with snake scales who scoped around a city, which of course, was far too similar to a book I’d just read, but that’s needed.

It took countless ideas, multiple jumps of joy as a new idea popped into my hair, only to get to a thousand words and get bored, and finally, something clicked: it’s not as simple as having an idea and away you go.

Oh no, it demand blood. And depression. And every ounce of hope that you have just to get a plot down. My writing got better, I began to plan fully, I lived for the new worlds I created just for me, but they never seemed to stick. Yes, I enjoyed them, yes, I miss the days when all I cared about was getting home from school and sitting down at my desk, but it never got me anywhere.

Until one day, in 2013, when I was running home in the rain, and an idea dropped into my head as a tiny droplet of water gave me the ideas I needed. I’m not going to tell you what the idea was (yet), but I can say it’s the only idea that has stuck with me all these years.

I pondered the thoughts for hours that night, already having a developed plot in my head, and the next day, I got to work – my method is to write a full A4 page of hat I think happens at the start, that way I can filter out what works and what doesn’t, what needs tweaking and what has potential, but it still wasn’t enough, I needed more planning, more driving force for the protagonist, an obstacle only he could over come: a plot with meaning.

Now, seven years down the line, one overly rushed first draft and countless rewrites, I finally gave in, and did what I should have done almost seven years ago – plan EVERY tiny detail, down to the last bullet point. And here’s how it goes.

Call this my timeline of a downward spiral of mental state:

  • have an idea
  • Create the characters
  • Set the scene
  • Create a justifiable ending
  • Figure out how they got to that point
  • Create realistic relationships between characters
  • Go far too in-depth about the backstory of a dog that appears in one scene
  • begin to like the book
  • read some back only to realise you hate the book, and yourself
  • Question why you do this to yourself
  • Do it all again
  • Find reasons not to write even though you always say “I really need to finish writing” (Oh really, Liam? Then why are you writing this blog post?…. shut up)
  • Cry

 

And here we are. Hating every inch of the novel, craving to find something new to write, just a little something to “get you back into the habit”, only to find yourself back at that idea. And that’s the most important part. It stick with you.

Think of it like a leaf; it’s there on that tree, you know what it looks like, it’s green, with a hint of autumn orange. Turn away for one second, only to look back and the leaf is gone. Now, you see another leaf, it’s a similar colour, if not a bit more withered, but you like it, it has potential, until all you can think about is how much fresher that last leaf seemed, and it falls,  and all of a sudden, that one leaf you began with is back on the tree, and that’s all you can look at.

It’s a cringe worthy analogy, I know, but you get my point. A bit of advice: NEVER disown an idea that follows you everywhere. If it stick, it must be something. It might be a disaster, but it’s yours, and yours to write. Who else is going to do it?

 

 

So, I’ve realised that I’ve written more words on this post than I’ve written on my novel in, what, a week? Heh… Practice what you preach!

 

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