And I’ve done quite well today.
Just about five thousand words because Aimée is in Wales. I have managed to avoid the temptation of watching American Horror Story: Roanoke. Even though it’s just sitting there, watching me from the sideboard, enclosed in its silken, cellophane wrapper, waiting to be opened and devoured. Well, I did promise.
I feel the clawing need to explain that a novel will take rather more than a few weeks’ work. I can see myself losing sleep, losing days, corrupting my mind with caffeine.
I put together a couple of tables and pie charts a few weeks back, and frankly, you’d be forgiven for thinking I would have knocked out a world-beater by now. Such is my certainty that this, dear reader, is a corker.
In fact, I have created detailed character timelines, of which I am quite proud. I have sauntered through emotional arcs and changed a great many character names. I am almost happy with them.
I built a little skeleton over the course of an exhausting weekend.
I have come to the conclusion that, if only to get the story out of my head, I will need to write a brief sketch – about the quarter of the length of a normal novel – and then it will be out of my head. But it’s driving me mad.
This is just the way I am. I can’t make myself redecorate until I have torn a strip from the wallpaper. Wanting to change the wallpaper is not enough. I have to make a mess of what is already standing, then the impetus is immense.
Not only do I want to change the wallpaper, now it’s a disaster zone, so I must.
Similarly, I am five thousands words in to my sketch, desperate to go back and fix things, but utterly aware that if I turn back now I will kill my momentum. Sadly, it will have to be an awful glimmer of something for a little while.
Then, of course, I will fill it out, put some flesh on the bones. Next, tidying, removing the useless details and correcting the obvious ‘telling rather than showing’.
For example, I could tell you the character was embarrassed. This has very little effect on you. Why should it?
If I tell you her heart raced, that a splash of colour ran across her face, that her palms ran with cringe-making sweat – you’ll know she’s embarrassed, but you’ve used your mind’s eye, so maybe it’s a better reading experience for you. She was embarrassed – looks a little inadequate now, doesn’t it?
My plan after the tidying is obvious: nuance, put some more colour in, dark and light, some character quirks which bear no impact on the story but may encourage a little engagement, and then, finally – polish. Like a stone. This could take some time, but only then will it be ready for the Aimée test.
Speaking of whom, Aimée is in Wales for a dachshund meet up, a charitable thing in aid of dachshunds with IVDD.
There will be tv people there. There may be an interview, but whether or not the other one is destined for teatime televisual exposure is, at least for the moment, unknown.
She will, however, be on a stand with other knowledgeable people from the breed council, showing off Poppy and Pumpkin, with whom everyone is bound to fall in love, and judging a dog show.
I will spend the day with Judge Judy on tv and Doobie air-licking at my feet.
The Legion kids have just found my blog. Hello, Legion kids. And my buddy Neat has recently broken her elbow in the course of being healthy (it was a cycling accident), which sounds unutterably painful and proof that exercise should be avoided, but if the boredom kicks in – hello Neat.
And something has crossed my line of sight as I amble down the knotted lanes. A sight which, quite honestly, cannot be forgiven.
Within the confines of this miniature and slightly over-manicured Eden are a small, and rather specific, group who have erected certain edifices within their perfectly ornate and landscaped gardens.
This is something I have only noted of late, and frankly, it’s got me rather perturbed. Perfectly inoffensive people, no doubt, but suddenly, they have acquired flag poles.
This is somehow hideous. I have no intention of passing judgement but there are limits.
This is England. I understand elsewhere on the continent there are countries whose residents have their national flags flapping about in the feather-fingered, European breeze, but somehow that just feels like pride.
In almost every American film there will be a flag outside a house, and that too is patriotic zeal.
We don’t really do that stuff. We’re too self-deprecating; even our pride comes with sarcasm. But now there are flag poles. Unless designed to entrap confused and possibly hungover pole dancers, or maybe decorated with a pirate, Pride or Irish flag, I fail to understand.