Three months ago, my horror-story-of-mass-proportions work in progress, 25000 words in, came to an abrupt stop. The yuletide rush had begun, my busiest editing time of the year, and from then until now, my entire writing time would be devoted to editing novels ready for Christmas release. My WIP was still there though, in my head, simmering and
bubbling and spewing the occasional golden geyser as I edited from genre to genre, ticking the boxes of commercial convention. My WIP was cooking, I realised, slow-cooking, and perhaps trying to change into something different. Sometimes, instead of golden geysers the sly old muse would throw up doubt, questions, opinions from another level. This is the story you always wanted to write, right? Then change the voice, alter the style, don’t do commercial, do YOU! Don’t hold back, tell it like it is. And so on. And on, and on. And now I’m feeling different about my WIP. Not that the 25000 words down are crap, no, not that at all… just that there’s a different way… a way that might just actually make the story I always wanted to write, my mark, into an unforgettable story of literary greatness.
But then again I’m not at all convinced I can pull that off. Can I compare someone’s sparking nerves as being like `forks in a microwave`, Mr Mitchell? Can I? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because my day job sees me reading commercial fiction in every genre and the conventions are sticking within me like neural guideposts, or maybe it’s because I haven’t got the balls/skill to really nail that elusive jump in voice from commercial storytelling to minimalistic yet mind-blowing wordsmithery. I don’t know. But what I do know is that the enforced three-month hiatus has done wonders for the WIP, has brought a few real gems from the simmering pot, and in the new year when I can once again devote one day per week to it, my story will be better than before. Whether I’ll have the balls to shove cutlery in the pinger, I don’t know, but I’ll have fun trying.
So, this year’s writing tip is take a step back, a break, allow your words to cook while you do/write something different and the resulting gems and metamorphosis might surprise you.
May your Christmas be fun and your new writing prosperous.
Up yer bum!