More than writing

My writing has been slowing up a little and becoming more of an effort than when I first began. I started writing 1,500 words each day, but after almost a week, this took a down turn and even banging out 300 words seemed immensely difficult. I have tried all kinds of things to get back on track, to fish for more ideas, etc. etc. That is not to say all of the work I have done has been in vain – quite the contrary. I have a basic story plot, I created a concept for my novel and I have been developing my characters. What has helped me the most so far though is time.

I needed time to work with my ideas for a novel, time to write around the ideas and to build a picture of the story; but equally, time to ponder what might be possible if I let go of or changed aspects of my original ideas. Initially I was frightened to stray from the main plot I had created for my novel, but, after taking a few days off from writing, I started seeing more possibilities and breathed new ideas into my novel. What was historical fiction, now has elements of fantasy – and I’m really excited about it!

I still believe that what writers do is write, that you should aim to write most days (let’s say 5 or 6 out of 7), and that you should aim for a minimum of 1000 words per day if you can (or whatever goal is viable for you and your lifestyle), but I realise now that those words do not have to always be aimed at building the word count for your novel, that it is in fact useful to take time away from that (but not too much time – you don’t want to get completely out of the flow of the story).

Another thing that really helped me was giving my ‘novel in progress’ to a sympathetic and excitable reader (my mum in this case). Now I need to tell you that my mum is an artist and naturally creative and imaginative. I knew she would be able to see whole characters and enter worlds that I had not finished creating in my unedited and very rough first draft notes of bits and pieces. True to form, mum’s mind was a-buzz and she gave me lots of great feedback ad ideas, and asked pertinent questions that got me thinking outside the box in relation to my plot.

The final thing that has assisted me was going back to research. I found more information, and revisited historical notes I’d forgotten about and found story rich facts that I can bring to light in my novel. Truth is often stranger than fiction!

So now, armed with enthusiasm, new direction and a satchel full of fresh ideas I am ready to start writing again!

Here’s a basic character outline of my character, Annabella:

Character type: Protagonist / major

Name: Annabella

Description: She has thick, wild hair, the colour of sun-bleached hessian: a faded golden brown. She is of medium height, but with an athletic, muscular physique. She loves being outdoors. She has a great intuitive knowledge of forest plants. She has a learnt knowledge of herbs and potions. She is literate.

Bio: As far as she knows, she is an only child. Her mother abandoned her as a baby, leaving her grandmother to raise her. Her grandmother taught her healing arts. Her grandmother sent her to the village at age ten where she lived with a village family for two years while working in the castle kitchens. Then she moved into the castle and became the princess’ healer. She was raised away from society and therefore finds it difficult to make friends. She is an outsider in the village and the villagers are wary of her, but she often finds herself called out to aid people in sickness or adversity. She is generous and thinks too kindly of most people.

Goals: To make friends in the village, to be accepted by the villagers, to feel a sense of belonging.

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