Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Just write the damn book

I haven't posted for 6 weeks because I am mortified at a complete lack of progress and am boring even myself with my procrastination...
These are my pathetic excuses:
1. Work - it's not going anywhere so I need to deal with it
2. Family - ditto (thank goodness)
3. Finishing my course (see the lovely www.jessicahartromancewriter.blogspot.com) every week I learnt something new that sent me back to the drawing board
4. Sidetracked by a Valentine's competition on Harlequin (see below for my attempt; it had to be 1000 word beginning of a secret baby Valentine themed book)
5. Freezing feelings of inadequacy from SYTYCW
I have made some decisions though. Three weeks ago we were asked to read out our first page incorporating all the things we had learned and I just couldn't get Write to Love to work. I had decided to start it around chapter 5, where Tabby began to shadow James at work, I took out the book writing theme, turned their son into a younger brother and it STILL didn't flow. I contemplated using my Valentine's entry instead but after all the comments questioning why he invited her in for wine I lost all confidence in that. I must be a complete lush because tbh it didn't even occur to me that that might be odd behaviour - let me know your thoughts.
So I have made a difficult decision, put all that Nano work to one side and started something new...
I have a first page, backstory, motivations, visuals AND a plot but I am still not writing it. The last ten days I have blamed my cold but really I am just frightened, what if I can't do it? Must Write Through The Fear. Wish me luck x

My Valentine's Comp Entry
What was that?The insistent chime sounded again, and with a sigh, Kester Lawrence heaved himself to his feet and marched to the front door.
“Yes?” he demanded as he wrenched the door open, glaring at the unwanted intruder. “I’m not buying, selling or converting so you’re wasting your time.”
He made to shut the door in the young woman’s face, but to his surprise she put out a hand, pushing the door firmly open again.
“I’m not,” she began, then, “I’m sorry, but I really need to speak to you. It’s very important...” Her voice broke on the last word. Good God, was the woman on the verge of tears? A foot followed the hand, edging itself into the hall.
He looked pointedly at the small foot, his gaze travelling slowly up long, denim clad legs, over the green velvet coat wrapped around a slim figure to the pleading face upturned to his. Honey coloured hair pulled back into a messy bun, high cheekbones in a heart shaped face, soft pink lips. “Have we met?” he asked abruptly, something about the shape of that wide, generous mouth, the long lashes framing dark grey eyes tugging at his memory.
“It’s a long story,” she said, looking away from his intense gaze. “Look, I know this is an imposition, but could I come in? I won’t take up too much of your time, I promise.” She shivered as a gust of icy wind moaned down the street and he was suddenly aware of how much the temperature had dropped.
“Five minutes,” he said, moving away from the door, leaving her to follow. He could hear her scampering to keep up with his long stride as he led her down the wide, tiled hall to the dining kitchen that took up the entire back of the house.
“Wine?” he asked, as he opened the fridge and took out the bottle of Chablis; at her nod he poured out two generous glassfuls and handed one over. He leant against the gleaming marble worktop and raised a quizzical eyebrow. “So?”
She took a sip of the wine, then looked up at him, a faint colour staining her cheeks. “This is pretty embarrassing,” she said, “so I am just going to come out with it. We met three years ago, on Valentine’s Day, in the bar at the Savoy and I was wearing...”
“A red dress,” he finished for her. An image flashed through his brain. Tumbling curls framing laughing face. Red silk cut low at the back, flaring out at the waist. Unzipping the dress to reveal creamy curves encased in black lace. A Valentine’s erotic dream. He gulped his wine, hurriedly. “Viola? I would never have recognised you.”
She flinched. “A lot’s happened since.”
He laughed, abruptly. “Nights like that don’t come along too often, but after waking to find you gone I didn’t think I would ever see you again. Yet here you are. What do you want? Money? You will find the tabloids will pay you better, I don't care for blackmail.”
“That's not why I'm here!”
“Did you marry him,” he asked suddenly. “Your fiance?” Not that he cared, but any guy who could stand up a girl like this, on Valentine’s night no less, didn’t deserve the right to come home to her, to hold those luscious curves, kiss that full mouth. His gaze lingered on plump lips, remembering their feel, her heat and passion.
“Hugo? No. Not after what he did, not after what we did.” Her voice was low, those stormy grey eyes dark silver. Ah, so she’s remembering too.
“Well, lovely as it is to see you again I’m sure you haven’t travelled all this way just to celebrate our anniversary,” he said, eyes flicking to the date on the digital clock by the door. “You’re a day early. Or did you want to deliver a Valentine in person? I might even have some champagne.”
She was looking away from him, cheeks a scarlet hue, reminding him of his first glimpse of her, all dressed up and alone at the bar. Her eyes had been lowered in embarrassment as she constantly checked her phone, looking up eagerly every time someone walked into the room, only to droop in disappointment as they walked straight past. Was it chivalry or devilry that prompted him to send over that first glass of champagne? Devilry certainly, when he bought the first bottle, as for the second and the suggestion that they retire to his room...
“I’m sorry that I just left,” she attempted a smile. “I had never done anything like that before. And afterwards, after Hugo and I had broken up, I didn’t know if you would even want to see me again. I mean, you're Kester Lawrence – you could have anyone, and me? I'm nobody.”
“And yet here you are,” he said, his tone casual but his body tense. What had brought this girl to his door after all this time?
She didn’t speak but, fumbling in her bag, produced a photo which she slid over the marble counter towards him. Kester didn’t pick it up, just looked at it as it lay there. A small girl beamed out; high cheekbones in a heart-shaped face proclaimed her relationship with the woman sat opposite him but the deep blue eyes and straight black hair were identical to those he saw in the mirror every day. He looked at her wordlessly.
“She’s two, and maybe I should have told you before,” she stopped suddenly, the stormy eyes bright with unshed tears. “I’m not compatible but they said her father might be. Katy needs a kidney. She needs your kidney.”


Doris O'Connor said...

Oh this will not do, not at all. It is awful when you lose your confidence, but you know I really liked your Valentine's entry. You have a great voice, believe in yourself :-)

If you feel the need to start something new then do so. Just keep writing, whatever you do. x

Alexandra said...

I agree with Doris, you have a great voice. You've had quite a setback and it's understandable that you feel nervous about your ability, but trust us, there is nothing wrong with your writing. And the wine thing - it's just minor. Perhaps what you should do is write for yourself, for the pleasure of it, take the pressure off yourself. I think sometimes we get too bogged down in the details and technicalities of how we are expected to write. I know this because I am going through that exact same difficulty.

Julia Broadbooks said...

The wine thing, I just took it to mean that he was certain he knew the heroine and that just didn't get understood by some of the readers. Easily fixed.

I agree with Doris. The cure to a crisis of confidence is to write more. Some of it will be bad enough.

But some won't be.

Morton S Gray said...

Totally agree with the others. I'm in a similar space myself and could easily just give up writing today. Your Valentine entry is good and I loved your New Voices one. Keep writing, if you will, I will. Mx

Rose Red said...

Morning everyone. Thank you all for your kind comments *blushes*. I think the pressure is from trying to second guess what will appeal to my target publishers and I am trying so hard to do that that I have lost the all-important creative part - and even worse I have lost the enjoyment and buzz writing gave me when I knew nothing about what they looked for. Will keep writing, just need to push through this block.

Jessica Hart said...

Oh, dear, the course was supposed to help, not hinder! But I completely understand the fright. If it's any comfort, I still get that sick, paralysed feeling 57 books down the line, and it doesn't get any easier.

I think Alexandra's advice is sound: for now, just write for the pleasure of it. Write the story in your head, without thinking about your target market etc (ignore everything I told you, in fact!) That's how you'll find your voice that enables you to tell the story nobody else can do, and that's what publishers are looking for more than anything. And once you've done your shitty first draft, it will be much easier to go back and fix it.

Wine helps too.

I thought you had something with your reunion story, so don't give up!

Teresa Morgan said...

The more you write, the better you'll get. But I do understand the lack of confidence at times. I sometimes worry I'm not 'clever' enough, putting a plot together that will keep readers interested.

But you've got a great style, and voice developing, just keep at it! Read, read, read and write, write, write! :D

Xandra said...

Don't you dare give up now! :) Many of us are having those same doubts and I think you're a very talented lady who can overcome any obstacle. Write what you love, forget about publishers and then see what you have - that voice will shine through, I guarantee. Good luck J x