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I've been trying to write an insert for the fourth book of my Knights of Camelot series. I'm a few thousand words short of my ideal novel length and there are places which need more detail. I began something last weekend and doodled about until I reached just over 2,500 words when I realised it was rubbish. Utter drivel.

Just a little unfortunate, so back to square one and try to pick a better subject. Fortunately I have a friend who knows my world almost as well as I do and while we were supposed to be training (martial arts), she hit (sorry about the pun) me with so many ideas my brain finally unplugged itself.

This started me thinking about all those words I have on my writing laptop, which will never see the light of day. All those characters which I turned my back on because I hit a wall at 25,000 or even 50,000 words in some cases. I'm always told to plan a book in detail. I'm not one of those writers, mores the pity, so I just write until a story is done and that either ends up as a book or not.

I have at least two full novels which are follow ups to my vampire books. They will never see a book shelf. I have five versions of one book that just won't be written coherently enough to become readable by anyone but me, and I have hundreds of thousands of words for books about fairies, demons, true historical fiction and crime.

Where does this leave me? With a lot of words. My practice words and words which kept me sane while other parts of my life fell a part. Sometimes words don't work and you just have to let them go, move on but never stop writing. It used to depress me when I would watch my characters die in my head and I'd fight to keep writing, which made me miserable. Now, I just release them, like good friends who you only know for a brief time but always retain a positive memory to carry through life.

Words are slippery, characters sometimes very real and sometimes ephemeral. The one thing I know for certain, the more I understand about the world of writing the more I know the true mystery of my muse will reveal herself in her own sweet time. I just have to keep practising and be willing to throw away the words she doesn't want to keep.

Views: 33

Tags: Characters, Words

Comment by Steve Norris on January 13, 2012 at 11:44am

I think it is a mature writer who knows when they can't convince themselves of what they have written then it's wise not to share with the world...although maybe when you're rich and famous or maybe just dead, someone will think it's a great idea to put out the previously unpublished Luddington Archives.

I can see you turning in your grave already....

Comment by Matt T. Schott on January 13, 2012 at 12:12pm

You and your Words are like comrades in arms sharing a major event togeather, a shared moment in time. Not all the words make it.  I've known whole chapters that sacrificed itself for the better chapter to take its place.  As tough as it might be to experence it is a gift most people dream of having.  You are truly a Writer.

Comment by Roger Long on January 14, 2012 at 11:53pm

I can't plan a book either. I start off with a clear direction and after a few hours I read back what's on the screen and realise it's taken on a life of its own. Nothing I've completed is what I started out to write.

Comment by Sarah Luddington on January 15, 2012 at 10:37am

Starting a book is always an adventure, it's just that sometimes you end up in the Mountain of Doom at Mordor and sometimes you die on the way...

Comment by Cleveland W. Gibson on January 16, 2012 at 8:40am

Most writers start with an idea. Run your idea past somebody and watch their reaction,especially if it is another writer.Build a 'platform' while you wait for the idea to develop. Also write the idea down. Research. Also take a stab at the opening line, the 'hook.'

Best wishes

Cleveland

Comment by Elizabeth Spear on January 16, 2012 at 2:43pm

I was given some wise advice from Mike Bullen who wrote Cold Feet he told me a writer must always be prepared to kill his/her babies. There is a lot of truth in that. On another note, your book The Prophecy has just arrived and I can't wait to read it!

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