Friday, 8 May 2009

The Big Empty : Penny Dolan

So I’ve come to the end of the tome, probably titled A Boy Called Mouse. Today I will change a pair of blue eyes (ignored despite several earlier passes on-screen) into the intended brown, and decide just how many bottles topple to the floor in a certain scene. Then it’s off to the copywriter with the m/s, apparently. By this afternoon, I will be bereft. Facing the Big Empty.

Only will I? There’s several exciting settings whispering in my mind, longing for some interesting characters to inhabit them, but what’s the big, long story thread to be? There’s characters from Mouse that might lead into a new novel, but will they? I’m fluttery in the pit of my stomach, afraid of starting again, afraid of any new story fizzling out. Maybe this was it? Maybe I’m one tome woman?

I’ve got a few small ideas noted down, but they’re not waht I call deep writing. Do I go for those fun things instead? Or do I dust off earlier tomes and try to work out just what went wrong with them? Not sure I’ve got the heart forthat any more. It feels a bit too much like reading letters from long past loves.

So just patience, then. Time to fill the well. Time to walk and tidy and hope the story shelf on the mind starts filling with small scrabblings and murmurs. Possibly time to try out that post-it note plot-building idea I saw in a Writer’s Room picture. If only I had a big bare wall.

And time (during this merry, merry month of SATs) to sit at home and ask myself the question asked on each school visit: “So, where do you get your ideas from?” So, where do you?


Nick Green said...

I was never more reassured than when I found out how many authors go through this Big Empty angst.

I like the love letters analogy. When I face the Big Empty I think of that old song by the Eagles, Wasted Time, specifically the line, 'You're back out on the street / And you're trying to remember / How do you start it over? / You don't know if you can.'

But always, the batteries recharge themselves in the open air and sunlight, things happen, ideas are triggered, new stories appear. A writer's brain can't keep them out any more than you can keep weeds out of the garden.

Hilary McKay said...

That is a fabulous description: the big empty. I find it very unnerving myself, as if I had been suddenly shut out of a place that used to be home.

adele said...

Have fun filling up and enjoy the leisure, Penny! And well done for finishing.

Penny said...

Thanks for all your comments, Adele & Nick & Hilary. Shut out of my home, exactly. And by the time I get back inside, all the furniture will need moving about, the floors scrubbing and I'll have to meet several strange new lodgers.

I know the New Thing will come - maybe is coming already - but can't help feeling slightly hollow at the moment. No I'm not, I'm really positive. 9Feeble grin!