Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Story glue - Anne Rooney

Two of my books are misbehaving.

The two non-fiction projects are being good, plodding along obediently - though they sometimes squabble about which of them will get the early-morning writing time. But the stories are either having a tantrum or hiding whenever I go near them. They've been doing it for weeks.

Usually, if I have lots of things to do (=other books to write), the stories I don't have a deadline for jump up and own shrieking for attention. Not these two. What can they possibly want? I've given them everything: decent characters, a good premise, a solid theme, some unusual and exciting plot episodes... The longer one has a good setting and a host of Dickensian extras. But somehow they are not hanging together - something is missing.

I've run both of them past my 'help-my-story-is-crap' adviser. At least, I've done the stage 1 run-by, which is an extended discussion on Skype. But still they don't work. Stage 2 run-by is a long evening with the HMSIC-adviser and a bottle of Prosecco, trying out lots of different ideas. That might be necessary: she's very good at telling me whether there's a piece missing or I'm just putting the bits together wrong.

So this is what I've got: a pile of characters, settings, episodes, themes, concepts - but none of the magic glue that turns them into a story. It feels like having a box of bits from Ikea and no instructions. Surely they must go together into something - but is it something that will work and that I will like? Will it be fit-for-purpose? Or have I got a box of bunk-bed parts which I think is a kitchen cabinet? Or, worse, a box of left-overs from the Ikea factory that doesn't actually make anything at all?

Anne Rooney aka Stroppy Author
Latest books: Vampire Dawn series, Ransom Publishing, 2012


Carole Anne Carr said...

Loved the mention of left over pieces! Happens to most of us, I think. Usually discover that I have two or maybe three stories lurking in the mess and I hadn't the sense to realise this! But the delight when I do, more to work on!!

Penny Dolan said...

Hope all the piles of bits were listening when you wrote this post and will therefore take your mutterings as a meaningful message that they should sort themselves out and be more blooming helpful!

IKEA is a correct metaphor.