As well as editing my next novel, Winterdyke, I’ve been writing short stories for my various writing groups. I struggle with the form of a short story, my ideas always seem to go further than a few thousand words and I really admire those who can fashion a shorter piece. Editing is unbearably tedious and although there are flashes of creativity when you have to think of a different or better way of writing something, for the most part it’s a chore.
When I’m actually writing something I become totally absorbed, and sit unmoving except for my fingers flashing across the keyboard, only pausing occasionally to look up and stare out of the window without really seeing anything while I try and think of the next word, next action from my characters, next piece of the plot. I may be lost like that for a few seconds or minutes, or longer, I’m only half aware of it and then I’m back in the story, totally consumed by what my characters are doing, seeing, saying, and me as the audience reporting it all. I do mean all because I really overwrite which is another reason editing is such a chore.
It’s been ages since this has happened – I’ve chronicled here my struggles with what I guess might be a sort of writer’s block which has been going on since the beginning of 2019 if not before. Even when I was finishing Winterdyke this time last year it was a painful struggle. Yesterday I was writing the second part of the short story which I later shared, ‘A Guilty Secret’; suddenly I was back in what might be called the writing zone, lost in my story, and even when I went out with the family, it was still in my head, sometimes coming between me and what was going on around me. As soon as I was home I came back here and started writing again.
Unusually for me I knew how the story was going to end, I had the last lines in my head, and although a few new ideas did creep in I was there, I was in it, I was just about living it. I write those last lines and stopped. It wasn’t finished of course, there’s always editing and rewriting to do, but I’d finished it, and I blinked and it was like waking up out of my writing world. It was something I’ve not experienced for such a long time and I felt energised and ready to write more, whatever that more is!
What will be the next thing? My 1950’s novel which is half complete? My next Thomas Radwinter novel? Or maybe something completely new… maybe the characters in the short story I have just finished? Or maybe something which I haven’t even thought of yet!