Monday, 25 April 2011


Happy Easter Monday folks,

I apologise for not posting much recently. I've now set myself the target of posting at least once a week, but knowing my wonderful deadline habits, that won't be an easy one to keep. In fact, one of my favourite writers quotes (of which you find thousands on *mutter* twitter) is courtesy of Douglas Adams,
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."

I on the other hand do not get on well with deadlines. At my first university, I only ever made one assignment deadline. It was too soon after that that I found out the uni counsellor was far far too easy to get an extenuating circumstances letter from.
For some reason at my second uni I didn't dare miss a deadline. These guys were far less forgiving, and there were significantly fewer of us on the course, so slipping under the radar wasn't an option.

In two weeks time it will have been one year since I wrote the first draft of my novel's long synopsis, sat on a lovely comfy sofa, with a very friendly dog, in Auckland, New Zealand, waiting for confirmation that I could fly home without worrying about volcanic ash (Hi Jay!).
I told myself once I got back to the UK that I would write the second draft by the beginning of September. Then it was by Christmas. Then New Year. Needless to say it still isn't done, and as a result something tells me that my goal to have the first draft of the novel written by the end of December this year is a bit of a long shot.

So for those of you who maybe waiting for the next part of The Future Holds... series, it is on it's way, I swear it! Felicity is being totally rewritten, and Becca, the new one, has had to undergo a total restructuring.

Now, the reason that it's taking so long is due to one little word. Conflict. My friend Renee pointed this out to me about the first version of Felicity, that it's all well and good having a pretty little story, but to really draw a reader in, there has to be conflict.
Admittedly every book I've read so far about writing says the same, that conflict is essential.
So do we agree that a story can't be particularly interesting unless there's something in the way?
Out of curiosity, in your opinion, would the life story of someone who gained everything they needed and led a happy life without anything getting in the way, be a boring story?
Discuss - Is a story without conflict a story?

I'll admit that I'm too nice to some of my characters.  A friend and I were debating why that is for about 45 minutes last week. It would seem I avoid conflict a lot of the time. She says it's rooted way way back in my child-hood, I blame my sister (love you Fran!). Sometimes I just want my characters to have a quiet, problem-free existence because I don't. I think most writers will admit that in at least a fraction of their work, they give their characters the lives they themselves wish they could have.
Come on, I refuse to believe I'm the only person that writes a bit of myself into one character, even a very minor one, in most pieces I write.

So, to make sure I don't forget to put the conflict into my work, I have this posted above my laptop.

You should see how many curve balls I throw the protagonist in my novel now after being I told I was being too nice to her.

Anyway, I'm going to do my best to finish the current version of Felicity or Becca tonight and try to post one or the other by the end of the week. I just need to hide the Dexter boxsets, then I might actually get some work done!

Good night folks.

PS. I thought I'd start posting the link to articles or fellow blogs that I find interesting and relevant. So here's todays one. It made me laugh, as much as being very informative, so thanks to Austin Kleon.
It's entitled "How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

1 comment:

  1. Go Jo! Am looking forward to reading the next installment, whatever it might be. Has it really been a year since you were here? I guess it has.

    And in answer to your question, I think a story about someone for whom everything went right WOULD be boring, and pretty unrealistic from the point of view of most of us. Just remember that conflict doesn't have to be big or physical or obvious. It can be as little as: Jane wants to eat the chocolate brownie. Jane doesn't want to let herself eat the chocolate brownie because she's trying to fit into a particular outfit for a particular event. Bob will be really offended if Jane doesn't eat the brownie as he made it for her.

    Crap example, but that's enough conflict to add interest...


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