I’ve been going through a writing dry spell at the moment. I find I can’t devote my mind to writing even a page when I have to turn off all those instincts to concentrate on my lecture and seminar content. It’s not the course-work: that’s the easy bit when I have my own space and own time to create, where I can also slip in some creative writing. It’s the time I devote to thinking about my topics, and that is a little bit of a shame.
However, after and during dancing yesterday, I had a bit of an idea about developing a rewrite of WTCB, to make the fight occur earlier in the novel. I have no idea if this is the way to go, or if I’m simply pulling the action far closer than it needs to be, with less build-up. There is even a part of me rebelling, because three chapters was a good, even number, and left a nice gap after the fight. But do so I must for the sake of the novel. Besides, the war still occurs between chapters three and four, so, chronologically, we are rolling in the same direction.
It’s so easy to write this new scene. To have the characters act the way they should. But it makes me wonder: why does going back to WTCB (lovingly titled ‘The Novel’ amongst my friends) feel much like slipping on an old shoe, whilst trying to craft something new, even steampunk of a similar world to The Continent feel like I am forever sticking my fingers into nowhere-glue?
I have an idea: characters and their depth. After all, it might be said that plot evolves out of characters; we cannot force our characters into situations that are nothing to do with them. I know nothing of the new characters I encounter – the contemporary, familiar setting of Jess and Laurie’s university oddly does not ring true; and even Amelia’s alt-history adventures in Egypt have yet to fit entirely into place. Yet, I can fold back into the tragedy of Aidelle and Phillip so easily.
My writing inspiration has returned in the form of my characters themselves. I see Phillip and Rion, walking away from Aidelle and towards the war, pressing through their familiar landscape. I haven’t entirely got the chapter planned out to each and every movement, but there is currently something of a progression, some action, some conflict, and some dialogue, and I’m still deciding how much symbolism and foreshadowing to include, but, for the moment, I’m looking forward to just…writing, something I’ve not been able to do so streamlined for a while.
Writing is really rather odd sometimes.