Tag Archives: novel

Going Nowhere Fast

Five years ago I promised myself that I would finish the first chapter of The Immortal and then decide whether to press on with the story or abandon it. I ended up doing a little of both.

Writing in sporadic bursts, I completed eight chapters of the saga of a devastatingly handsome time-travelling amnesiac and found that I had written myself into a corner. My attempt to create a convincing male protagonist had triggered the appearance of three strong female leads, all clamouring for more character development and a greater role in the narrative. The male protagonist, meanwhile, stubbornly resisted any unveiling of his hidden depths.

Teleporting and time jumps play a crucial role in the narrative. I tried to keep the inevitable inconsistencies and paradoxes to a minimum, to little avail. The story has reached the point at which the reader would normally expect a steady build-up to an exciting dénouement, a climactic confrontation between the protagonist and his adversaries.

To my guilty surprise, a few weeks ago some gentle soul purchased a copy of The Immortal. That reader (bless her!) is entitled to free updates and is no doubt wondering how the story ends. I owe it to that reader, and to myself, to bring the story to a conclusion.

I may, reluctantly, demote one of the female leads to a lesser role in the story. I may also rely on my readers’ further suspension of disbelief as I take the time jumps to an increasingly more improbable level.

The saga continues…

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The Novel that Never Was

Six months’ of sporadic writing and my fifth novel is slowly going nowhere.

Like my other novels, this one started as a clear image of the protagonist and a vague idea of what was going to happen to him.

Yes, him. I’ve broken with my string of female protagonists and decided to try rooting, if not playing, for the other team.

All the building blocks that formed a solid foundation for my earlier works are there. My imaginary hero has no idea what’s happening to him. Which, as any readers of my previous blog posts will know, has always been the case. It’s the way I write.

Except in this case the protagonist hasn’t cooperated by generating the narrative for himself.

It must be writer’s block. I say ‘must’ as I’m not sure. It’s a first.

I have a few theories to explain the lack of inspiration. The one I favour most is that I’ve stepped, unwarily, into the realm of science-fiction. A realm in which extraordinary things happen and demand extraordinary explanations. In addition to a convincing narrative I have to create an equally convincing background, some of which requires specialist knowledge of several scientific fields.

As my current protagonist has moved from day to day and scene to scene, I’ve been plagued with uncertainty about not realism but consistency.

An author can write a fictional location into her story but, to be convincing, that location has to follow certain common-sense rules, otherwise the story lurches into the realm of fantasy.

I’ve made a pact with myself. Finish the first chapter, introduce the main supporting character, and then stop and decide whether to continue or abandon ship.

Apologies to my loyal readers, but please bear with me and watch this space.

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