When I was revising my first novel-length piece (I’m going to call it DADW… that’s the title’s acronym … although the title is no great mystery to my poor friends and family who have to listen to me inappropriately drop those four precious words into every conversation I can) my mentor, Alli, told me that I needed to get a little further under the skin of the characters. I knew what she meant. I also knew that if I wanted to do that, I’d have to dig a bit deeper within myself. So, I went out the rumpus room, dragged out my suitcase of emotional baggage and unpacked an array memories that hadn’t seen the light of day for years. Because all of these feelings had been kept in the dark for so long, they were actually very well preserved. They were fresh. And rehashing them hurt. In a way, the pain was great because it’s what got the heart of DADW really going. But far out, it was exhausting. I was scraping the bottom of my barrel of sweat and tears and for a while there I thought, “yep, this is my one and only and I’ll never care about anything else in the same way and this is all I have in me.”
Felt the same way about my first boyfriend.
We are no longer together.
Writing (and reading) really is a muscle. And not just in the respect that you have to keep on flexing it. It’s also a muscle in the respect that, if you overdo it, you go and give your fingers and your heart some rest, and it’s not long before you crave another workout.
So, I’m back on the horse, and I’m about 6,000 words deep into TLWTRR (try to guess that title, I dare ya).
What’s in this second piece? Well, I haven’t decided on too much. Most adult novels are roughly between 80,000-110,000 words (DADW was a big fatty at around 110,000 words), so I’ve got a fair way to go. What I do have, though, is a list of character names and qualities. I know what their goals are and what is standing in the way of them achieving these goals. What I also have is a small list of definite places/things that will make an appearance. They could end up playing a tiny role, or they could end up being a major element. Whatever their part, they’ll definitely be in there.
These very special elements are …
- A vintage car (Australian make and model, of course).
- Regional and rural Australia.
- Federal government and resulting law.
TLWTRR will also be set in present day Australia, and, so far, it’s written in first person. So, it’s from the point of view of the main character. Like DADW, TLWTRR has romantic elements and a family-driven storyline. Both of these pieces deal with social issues, but in TLWTRR, I wanted to take social issues a bit further and look at modern government (specifically a conservative modern government) and how passed/blocked legislation affects the quality of life of Australians.
TLWTRR is coming along a little slowly at the moment. One reason for my slow progress is because I must finish off ye olde PhD thesis, but I think the other reason is that I’m a bit hesitant to, once again, really invest myself in people who aren’t alive and will never be alive. When I was writing DADW, the characters were with me 24/7 and the more I fleshed them out, well, the closer they were to really feeling like living, breathing entities. It was a weird feeling and one I wasn’t initially comfortable with. I mean, I wasn’t slipping into any overly-concerning delusional state, but I was very attached. There was quite a comedown after finishing DADW, but those emotions were eventually replaced by the real nice, warm sensation I felt from knowing that I was letting the characters go so that others could (one day) meet them.
So, what about the budding characters of TLWTRR? I think it’s their time to shine. I really want to get to know them… and I’ve definitely got a bit more left in the suitcase 😉
I’m really looking forward to sharing bits and pieces about how this new story all comes together.
And just one more thing!
I know what the elements of my new story might suggest but don’t worry, I am not doing a bogan Priscilla Queen of the Desert with a Pintara instead of a bus …