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


  1. Hi Ellie,

    I don't know your story or your characters but what if someone else came even later to the party? Add another character to your story and have your hero and heroine explain to them what the problem is. Even if you delete or don't use any of what you write it gets the juices (or maybe wine) flowing.

    Just a suggestion. Hope it works out for you.

    1. Thanks Alexia, that's a brilliant idea. Am sitting with notebook and pen and doing this right now!