Hi! Well, yeah, so. I haven’t written this blog in a while, and I definitely haven’t been writing it in any way that could be considered regular. That’s because it’s essentially a blog about writing novels, and I haven’t been doing a lot of that lately. The main reason being, I don’t know what novel I’m supposed to be writing. The big one; the grown up book, with all the swearing and sex and horribleness in it- that one has sort of got away from me. That one needs an entire re-write, because as far as I’m concerned, it’s fuck awful.
If you want to write a novel, one of the main things you need to have going for you is the actual motivation to finish the fucking thing. I can start one pretty easily. Anyone can start a novel. I could start a new one every day if I wanted to. But novels are big. The last one was eighty thousand words, and pretty much everyone who read it considered to be ‘a little short’. This new one is supposed to be around a hundred and thirty thousand, so that’s a big ask. And it’s difficult, because I basically fucking hate the thing. I don’t care about any of the characters, and even though I know exactly where it’s going; what happens, and how it ends- I really don’t give a flying fuck about it. The little girl who’s been kidnapped? Fuck her, I don’t care if she dies. The girl who’s trying to find her? Fuck her as well; she seems disturbingly unconcerned with what’s happening. She can die and all. Now, I don’t think that those are the emotions I’m supposed to be having while creating universes and populating them with characters, do you?
So I’m on hiatus from Girl Afraid. Even the title doesn’t make any sense. The only girls afraid so far in the whole process have been the girls I gave early drafts to a while back. Those girls were probably afraid that this was going to turn out to be a massively shit novel. I’m being overly hard on myself, obviously. Plenty of you who’ve read the thing will jump to its defence and say how you enjoyed it, or how it’s much better than you could have managed. None of that matters to me. I love my first book, and until I love this one just as much, it’s staying on ice.
Which brings me to one of the other books I’m writing. The Young Adult one, set in a dystopian London, five years from now. I am totally aware that at least two book series already exist which are ostensibly quite similar to this book. There’s one by Charlie Higson, and another by someone else (they are called things like ‘Gone’ and ‘Hunger’). But I couldn’t give a monkey’s. There is no real originality in fiction. If there was true originality, how would you know what sort of books you enjoy? How would Amazon recommend stuff to you? No, there are only genres. And besides, the twist in this book actually takes it into a whole other genre, but you’ll have to read the finished article to find out. Oh, and mine doesn’t have any fucking zombies in it, so it’s practically unique, innit?
Anyway, I genuinely don’t give a fuck about any of that: originality, saleability, writing books in conflicting genres, etc, etc. What matters to me is writing a book which I’m proud to put my name to, and which other people will love as much as I do. That’s my integrity; and, until I get an agent and a publishing deal, I’m still allowed to have some.
The reason I’m more excited about Untitled Dystopian Future Sci-Fi Romance With A Twist #1 (Part One Of The Untitled Dystopian Future Sci-Fi Romance With A Twist series) is that it’s a book I’m really enjoying writing. The characters are real and rounded and are people I’d like to know in real life. I care about all of them, and so will you. And the narrative is very strong, as I think I’ve mentioned before. And because I’m loving writing it, the strangest thing happens; the writing becomes beautiful, almost all by itself. When you’re writing something you hate, the best you can do is write yourself some plot outlines, then do a logline, chapter by chapter; taking the story all the way to its climax, and then perhaps a dénouement (if you’re lucky). When you sit down to create the actual prose, all you end up doing is a sort of join the plot dots exercise, and what you’re left with is a soulless, joyless heap of words, which people will struggle to get into, let alone finish. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve read New Moon.
When you’re writing something you love though, the magic seems to happen; unplanned, unplotted, just there on the page, dazzling you. The most beautiful things I’ve written (in The Boys of Summer or elsewhere) have come out of nowhere, on a good day for writing, simply because when you’re enjoying what you write, inspiration will follow. The quiet moments of reflection that a character has, or just a piece of vivid (but not unnecessary) description- these are the things a writer lives for. And they only happen when you’re doing something you love. I’ll leave you with a piece which none of you have seen yet, from the new book. Thanks for reading all of this today; it wasn’t that funny, but it’s important to me.
“‘Hey.’ Ruth handed him a mug. It had a picture from some TV show on the side. She missed television sometimes; but only the good stuff.
‘Oh, thanks. I thought you were going to see Susie?’ He moved over on the jacket which was spread out under him on the grass, and made room for her to sit.
‘Yep. Thought I’d give it a while though. She’s probably got a sore head.’ She smiled; she was lucky to have him. A big hulk of a boy who wasn’t quite a man yet, but was the only man she’d ever loved. The only one who’d loved her back, anyway. She felt safe with him, and comfortable. She knew he’d do anything to protect her.
‘Oh right. What about you?’ His eyes met hers; he loved the colour- hazel, with flecks of green. A day never passed when he didn’t think to himself how amazing she was, or how much he adored her. Over her shoulder, a bee settled in the centre of one of the roses on the bush which grew near the wall. The eco system of London had carried on, regardless of how the human world had disintegrated around it.
‘Oh, I didn’t have much, Babes. You know me. I’m a cheap date.’ She turned around when she heard the buzzing, and looked where he had been looking. Everything else she’d been thinking about fell away for a moment, while she took in the scene. Busy little yellow and black thing, hovering around the beautiful pink flower; oblivious to the pair of them, or to what had happened to their world. She’d tried to pick a rose for her mother once, when she was six. The thorns had ripped her skin, but the shock of it had been worse than the pain. That something so pretty could be so filled with danger; to be able to hurt like that. It wasn’t an easy concept to digest, whether you were six or sixteen.”