Like some people in their early twenties, I was suffering from a lack of motivation. I’d get up in the morning and have no enthusiasm to get on with writing. Maybe I’d make a logo, or figure out the backstory of an obscure character. It was all jobs relating to my book, but none of it was important. My 12,000 words sat still with no additions.
For a while I blamed it on the lack of ideas for the middle of the story. I had the beginning written and it felt good, it flowed and introduced the world. My end stood far away in the distance, but was clear in my mind. The middle however was a jumble of scraps, nothing really interesting was happening. It was just a journey to the end. What I needed to do was buckle down and plan, figure out all the nuances that would propel my story from being a boring trog into an interesting read.
I’m not trained in creative writing, but I have a lot of experience in generating ideas and I feel I know some of what it means to create a good story. Of course these are all skills that can’t be taught, things you learn over a long period of time after trial and error. One of the lessons I learnt was from my time at college. My tutor always told me to never stick with your first idea. I’ve written a few episodes of two different sitcoms and a comedy series for radio. I couldn’t hold onto the world, I had no feeling and no connection to my stories. Everything centred around comedy and a big problem I found was creating meaning in comedy. It’s only recently that doing something a bit more serious came to mind. Opening up my horizons to the idea of a world not hemmed in by jokes. I set out to create something a bit more grim.
Early last year a friend of mine (Sam Bowhay) told me he was writing a book. Not only that, it was serious and contained characters rather than just jokes. Before that point in time writing a book had seemed like an alien concept to me, but suddenly something clicked. It was weird, we had worked on comedy scripts together in the past and I have ended up spending a huge chunk of my time writing dialog and coming up with comedic concepts. However it was only when he mentioned writing that it suddenly felt like something I could do.
Writing a book was now a plausible idea and an outlet for my mind. Videos are an amazing experience, but they are limited by budget. Radio drama can be very engaging but that all depends on the cast.
I approached Sam Bowhay with the prospect of me writing a book for his world. Which in hindsight seems like a silly idea. He was writing a historical epic set in an alternative world, not my cup of tea at all. The plan was for me to write characters that would then appear in both of our books. It was an interesting idea but it wasn’t as amazing as I had hoped. The world was limited by someone else, my ideas already trifled before they had begun. I found myself in the same situation I had tried to escape while making videos (I even dabbled at doing a stand up show, which was a moderate success). In reality I think Sam got me so excited that I forgot to write about something I liked.
It all lead to me to build up concepts for a sci-fi book, which was something I really wanted to do. I was working on both the Sci-fi and the historical book. Building on concepts and writing ideas. I ended up feeling bogged down. Sam was not as motivated as me and he had his own writing troubles (making it too complicated) and I felt like the historical novel should be put on hold. Tips I had read online confirmed it, ‘only work on one project at a time’ and ‘focus your ideas’.
I’ve ended up reaching 35000 words as of 4th Jan 2014 and I’m about to start chapter eight tonight. If anyone is writing all I can say is to keep your focus on the idea you care about and concepts that you are actually interested in. For too long I worked on projects to create a cheap laugh when really all I wanted to do was tell a story of anger and hidden oppression. Sure it’s a big leap, but it’s defiantly one I’d do again.
I hope to write more on here, I just need to make some time to do it.