RSS

Distraction, Time off and Philip K Dick

26 Mar

York Kettlebell, my new friend

Writing a novel is one of the hardest things you can do, not to put you off or anything. I know I spend a lot of time persuading you to write every day and keep your hand in, but for some reason that all goes away when I’m working on a long form piece of work. I should write every day on this project but most of the time I don’t. I write a first draft chapter every few days, and I write it in a very short time, probably about an hour and a half or two hours tops. Why do I do that?

For starters although I have a very clear idea of where I’m going with my story my plan is not fully fleshed out. I had to get some ideas and the kind of look and feel down before I went back and arranged it. If you’ve been following my tweets on Twitter you will be aware of my recent tussle with the blueprint. I realised I only had enough material for 30 chapters and my original plan was for 40. So I did the sensible thing and rejigged my plan for 30 chapters. Now it’s all working a LOT more smoothly. Of course I could have downed tools and waited for inspiration to strike and added additional material to pad the hole. But I think padding is the worst thing you can do. Cut your suit to fit the cloth, always.

The reason I started writing before I’d finished my plan, NOT something I recommend that you do by the way, is that I knew what I was going to write and I knew overall what it was going to be like, but I didn’t have my voice very clear in my head. It needed to have a proper shakedown, and so it was now I’ve written four chapters and I’ve got a worked out plan the voice is coming through loud and clear. I actually act out the characters in the privacy of my room, like I’m auditioning actors for the parts of the characters and I ask them to give me an improvisation of how they talk and act. But for some reason my main character wasn’t talking to me and my first chapter was lacklustre.

Wait, voices? Am I hearing voices? Should I up my dosage? No it’s nothing like that. It’s just that when you are writing words for other people’s mouths you sometimes take a while to get in the rhythm, they still sound like you. You know what to say but you are as yet unsure, because you haven’t written enough of them yet, HOW to say it. A tone of voice, mannerisms, overused phrases, prejudices, obsessions and things they are studiously NOT saying… I have a handle on all that now. I can easily go back and redo the first few chapters. But its a rule that you should NEVER if possible go back and rewrite as you go because it takes too darned long to get anywhere. You must forge ahead and fix it later. (Hi Roz!)

The other problem is time to think. I’ve had a lot of distractions and traumas lately, as my friends know, and it’s taken a lot out of me to straighten everything out. I was desperate to get some time alone to think, so for the last week I’ve been shut in my house avoiding calls and interruptions, trying to focus and give my brain room the breathe. Its working too, I’m more relaxed and more focussed, and I have a clear plan of what I want to do.

Also I haven’t had any time off for months what with one thing and another and no time to read. So I’m resting, reading, staring into space and watching films. I’m currently re-reading “The Man In The High Castle” by Philip K Dick, who is the patron saint of this blog, by the way. Also still reading Roz Morris’ “Nail Your Novel” (Hi again Roz!) and Nick Daws’ “The Wealthy Writer”. But also I’m reading a fabulous book by Tim Ferriss called “The Four Hour Body”, after which I’ve put myself on a Slow Carb diet and do carefully worked out exercises three times a week. I’ve been carrying extra weight for years, a common problem with writers and artists due to having to be indoors all the time. So I bought myself a cheap 8Kg kettlebell and now I’m happily doing kettlebell swings and weird stomach exercises on all fours which make you look like a cat throwing up. All good fun while I’m working through a knotty plot problem in my head.

I can’t recommend highly enough some regular exercise or other regular physical distraction when you’re trying to write a novel. But it has to be something you choose, not distractions from outside. You have to have regular time (once a day or every other day) when you do something which is not writing, something physical, which allows your mind to breathe and take stock.

Looking forward to getting most of the first draft done before the end of April, then I can take a break and when I’m ready edit and polish over the summer. In a hammock. WIth a cocktail.

I wish.

oOo

If you want to know more about this and other creative writing topics then you will certainly enjoy my FREE monthly Creative Genius Newsletter.

Subscribe to the FREE monthly Creative Genius Newsletter

Subscribe now and…

Get em while they're HOT!

NEW TIME LIMITED OFFER – JOIN NOW and I’ll give you a FREE copy of my NEW eBooks, “Write Better Movies” (RRP £3.99) a guide to what makes a good film and what you should do about it, and “101 Creative Prompts” (RRP £0.99).

“Write Better Movies is an inspirational e-book from freelance writer and film-maker Phil South. Phil is passionate about film, and in this concise manifesto he sets out his views on why many films made today are substandard, and how screenwriters can help remedy that by writing better scripts. There is some great advice here, expressed in a concise, easily digested form. Overall, Write Better Movies is a great little guide for any aspiring screenwriter who wants to bring his or her work up to the next level.”NICK DAWS

AND THAT’S NOT ALL! Sign up today, and you will also receive a FREE copy of my popular self hypnosis audio “Amplify Your Creativity” (RRP £9.95).This hypnosis session expands your creativity and allows you to access the most creative part of your brain, your subconscious mind.

That’s a full £14.93 worth of goodies just for signing up to receive something you might have signed up to anyway. No risk, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do it today, you won’t regret it.

oOo

Always Buy the Book

My new book is out on KINDLE on Amazon UK priced at £2.12 and at Amazon US priced at $3.45. I will soon be offering it as a EPUB and a PDF but Kindle works on iPhone and iPad too if you can’t wait!

Nick Daws, respected writer and writing coach and author of the best selling “Write Any Book in 28 Days or less” had this to say about the book: “Let’s Write a Story sets out an unusual but effective method for creating an original story from a familiar starting point. If you love to write fiction but have trouble coming up with compelling plots, Phil’s suggested approach – which is described in detail here – will amaze and delight you. After reading the example plot Phil created using this technique – which could easily form the basis for a publishable screenplay or novel – I could hardly wait to try out the method for myself!”


Also watch out for the new apps for iPad and iPhone/iPod Touch on the iTunes store, including the iPhone version of the Creative Genius Deck. I’ll let you know when they are launched, but I’m very excited about these apps as they are taking my creativity training in a whole new and unexpected direction.

As you may know, the physical Creative Genius Deck is out now. If you’ve ordered a deck (especially from outside the UK) please be patient because for some reason the decks seem to take a long time to reach destinations outside the UK. It’s worth the wait, trust me.

Go to www.creativegeniusdeck.com for more details.

Thanks for reading, see you again soon.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Creative Genius

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: