Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Back at my Desk - Yippee '#amwriting'

Thank goodness -  that awful lull between books seems to have come to a close. I know it was only about a week – but still…

Problem is, I find it very hard to feel my time is well spent when I don’t have a book I’m working on. When I don’t have any ideas and no energy for writing – that’s when the panic sets in. With it, comes the writers' version of the Grim Reaper – ‘You need better ideas – because you need to write a better book this time.' Rash fears flit through my mind – ‘Maybe this is it – the end of the line – perhaps you don’t have another book in you…’ Horrors of horrors! No, no – this is my life now…

As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s inevitable to feel drained after finishing a first draft of a book. The thought of starting again and writing a whole novel (around 93,000 words in my case) feels too much. Too big. It’s not knowing how long that period of inertia will last that feels precarious. And very unsettling.

I took heart from Barry Gibb’s words in a recent TV documentary about the Bee Gees, when he said:

"We had a grim determination and persistence, taking all the blows and kicks and not worrying about it. Just getting on with it. ‘Well, it wasn’t this time – but next time, you know’. It’s always perceiving that something great was gonna happen, no matter what."

Okay – even the Bee Gees went through low periods of resistance and hard grind. Reality check...

Thankfully, my barren period lasted only around 8 days. I was re-reading The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan, a superb and chilling little number, and a scene towards the end about a frog struck a loud chord. Jack, the teenage narrator in the story, crushes it with a rock and buries it in the garden – but when a curious bystander digs it up - it’s still alive… (cue Hitchcock-style scary organ music). Given it's incredible symbolism (I won't say why, in case you haven't read the book) it's one of the most powerful moments in the story.

I can’t tell you exactly what my 'new idea' is at this stage, but I’ve drawn up a short summary and sent it to my Agent for approval. I really appreciate the way she works with authors right from the start – there’s nothing worse than finishing a novel then getting an unequivocal thumbs down. If I get approval, I’ll need to draw up a full synopsis and see if that gets full approval too – then I can get started on it. If the idea doesn’t hit the mark – I find another one.

Whatever happens – the excitement and anticipation is bubbling away now. Another book is definitely in there, breathing below the surface and trying to get out. Will it be ‘good enough’ or ‘better’ than what’s gone before? I don't know. I’ll do my utmost – my goal is always to improve - but I won’t be held back by this. And as long as I remember that I only have to write the next sentence, the next scene - I don’t need to be daunted by the enormity of the project.
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AJ Waines is the author of Psychological Thrillers:  The Evil Beneath and Girl on a Train.
Both books went to Number One in 'Murder' and 'Psychological Thrillers' in the UK Kindle charts.

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