Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Using plagiarism as a prompt


Apparently I'm story line challenged. I'm so stupid I'm incapable of making up a story. Maybe this is all about my subconscious not wanting me digging around and uncovering stuff. So fuck it. I'm FINALLY going to start my first shitty novel draft by plagiarising.  

I'm going to step in Peter Hoeg's footsteps and follow him line by line. Then make  changes, throw in stuff that interests me (aliens, vertical gardening, telepathy) and see where it goes. And NOT think about the finish line yet. NOT think about how lame and ridiculous and boring my effort is.  Just see if an alternative story starts to rise up. 

At least I'll be writing SOMETHING - and hopefully learning more about novel structure.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fear of Writing

I started a writing exercise that involves answering questions about your protagonist. Turns out I can't even finish a simple 30 minute exercise ! 

I got stuck because I was thinking about the nail house idea, and couldn't work out who the MC is, which POV is the lense for this story. And the questions didn't seem to relate to either of the 2 characters. And I thought, fuck I have NO idea what the main tensions and conflicts are. I just have this idea of a feisty old lady who refuses to get kicked out of her house, and is befriended by the building supervisor who works for the evil developer.

And I thought - I can't move forward because I haven't locked onto what I want to say. WHY does the story of Edith Macefield appeal to me so much. And why does the story about 2 old women found dead in their flat fascinate me ?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How I've NOT been going at writing fiction

For the last few weeks I've been a big fat procrastinator. There are 3 budding stories that I turn over and over in my head, but I can't find a whole structure for any of them. I think of a new approach, a new angle, start writing it out, but then decide the story's still not working. I decide I don't have a brilliant idea or some great insight into human nature.

I've tried the 'what if' tool, I've tried free writing in 15 minute sessions.

I've read the advice about switching off the inner editor and just letting stuff pour out in a wonderful creative flow. But I can't switch off my inner editor when I don't really know what I want to say. I just get a vague idea about a vague character in a vague situation and can't keep building on it.

Maybe I should just scribble out the weird or fantastic scenes that pop into my head. While I'm waiting for my brain to form an entire story, at least I'll be practising the craft of writing. Maybe I'll just STOP trying to write a whole story for now and enjoy writing pure crap. At least writing crap is better than watching TV or sitting around getting depressed because I have zero imagination.

Maybe I could write a STORY about some-one who can't complete a story. Maybe they pay a fairy god mother from writer's boot camp to help them. They find this boot camp in a writer's site online. What strategies would a fairy god mother have that would get her client to finish a story ?  

I think I need to stick to something simple. Lock onto one simple theme, or a moment in time. I've been trying to link too many elements together. 

Or should I switch to drafting a novel ? Maybe my brain just isn't wired for the short story.