Friday, 1 March 2013

Late to the party

Have you ever arrived late to a party and known straight away it's going to be a very long night. Everyone's a few glasses ahead of you, there's a new in joke, (whenever anyone tries to explain it they end up saying 'you just had to be there') and the food's looking a bit manky. You're convinced you stick out like a sore thumb, and you think you'd be better off leaving.

Well, this is what my characters have done to me. Last time I was here I was all excited to get back to work on Food Glorious Food. I'd been looking forward to it for ages, and I was prepared to dive right in. Unfortunately, my characters were less happy to be woken from a six-month nap. Turns out they were pretty happy being ignored, and they don't want to let me back in.

This doesn't feel fair. I created these people. I'd spent an age doing prep work: building the characters in my mind, creating character profiles, writing the first few chapters, writing more character profile. I thought that I'd be able to sit, read through my notes, remember everything about who they are, and start writing.

But when I sit down and write, the words don't want to come. When my critique group helpfully point out the plot hole in chapter one, I can't come up with a way to fix it. I just don't understand these people any more.

So, I've done what I would have to do at that party. I started talking, well writing. It doesn't matter that my conversation is stilted, or that the person I'm talking to doesn't make much sense. I figure I'll write my way through this conversation, and the next and the next, and as long as I am putting pen to paper, and doing my best to figure my characters out (and perhaps with the help of a small glass of red) I'll find my way back into the party spirit.

Has this happened to anyone else - any advice gratefully received!

Ellie x