Thursday, 4 January 2018

Starting a new book in 2018 – David Thorpe

Other ABBA writers are starting off the New Year by blogging about resolutions. Why should I be any different?

I find myself in a very unusual position at the beginning of 2018. For as long as I can remember I have been working on the same three projects that I actually dreamt up a long time ago. I have been writing and rewriting, editing and re-editing, struggling to get them to be as good as I possibly think they can be.

prisoners smashing rocks

I always hesitate to say that a piece of writing is finished. It seems like arrogance or over-confidence to say that I can't make it any better.

Too many times I've come back to things I have written in the past and thought were done and dusted only to find only to find all kinds of mistakes.

How about you?

Even when you think it is finished and have sent it away it still turns out there is more work to be done.  Like painting the Forth Bridge.

Even when one of my books is published and I pick it up I still cringe at times at the howlers. I suppose one should not admit this in public.

Anyway, at the end of 2017 I declared an end (at least until I get feedback from editors etc) to work on these 3 projects. I've had enough. I've got them as far as I can. I think they are as good as I can make them. I would stand by them in a court of writerly law and bear testimony. There, I said it.

So for 2018 I'm going to start something new for the first time in ages, and I don't know what it is. It's a delicious feeling.

I feel like for so long I have been writing according to a pre-prepared script. Working on existing stories to bring out the best in them.

Because I believe that within every story idea, the perfect story is somehow contained, and the job of the writer is to keep scraping away until they have brought to light, like a gem long buried underground.

from rock to polished gem

A writer is like a miner and a jeweller combined.

So I'm going off mining again. I will take the advice all of my fellow bloggers at the beginning of 2018. I will use whatever it takes: blank slates, pictures, walks, dreaming, interrogation of imaginary beings. I will not try to impose any preconceived ideas.

miners going off to work

From past experience I know this expedition that I am embarking upon can take years, depending upon what is found, quite frequently ending up nowhere with nothing. So it goes.

As the old Taoist phase goes, it's not the arriving but the journey that counts. Well, up to a point. It's nice to get there sometimes.

Hi ho! Happy mining everyone!

[I am the writer of Marvel's Captain Britain, the sci-fi YA novels HybridsDoc Chaos: The Chernobyl Effect and the cli-fi fantasy Stormteller. My writing course, called 'Making Readers Care' can be taken online. Contact me if interested.]


Penny Dolan said...

Good wishes for your new journey and for a successful ending. The burden will be less so you might find yourself writing with a happier and lighter heart.

David Thorpe said...

Thanks Penny! I wish you the same.

adhe donat said...
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WordPar said...
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Hilary Hawkes said...

Enjoyed reading your post, thank you. Good luck, David, and here's to finding new gems :)