I know it’s been so long since I posted about writing that many people who drop by here will have forgotten that that is ostensibly why I keep this blog—because I'm supposed to be a writer. I haven’t been mentioning it much, not because I haven’t been doing it but because of late I seem to have been doing it very badly, which is all highly frustrating and depressing. The book that I’m working on has been started no less than 3 times now, and each time I’ve trashed ten thousand words or so and gone back to the start, convinced that this time I’ve nailed the small plot/character detail that holds the key to the conflict and all is going to go smoothly from now on.
Unfortunately it’s not really working out like that.
I’ve been stuck on a particular key scene for the last week now, and no matter how I approach it I don’t seem to be able to make it work. The characters don’t seem to be able to relax and talk naturally in the situation I’ve put them in—it’s a bit like working with actors (and Abby Green would know a lot more about this than I do) who are reading the script and rolling their eyes and saying ‘but what’s my motivation?’
I’ve tried to explain their motivation endlessly, but there comes a point where endless explanation becomes a problem in itself. I’ve tried to tell them that they have to do this scene one way or another, or else there’ll be no story and we’ll all be out of a job, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. So now I’m wondering, maybe it’s just because none of us know each other properly yet? Maybe I should pick up the story after the pivotal point and keep writing, and then go back at the end and fill in the blanks?
I find that idea logical but terrifying. Has anyone else ever done it? Does it work? Is it a direct route into another wasted week of sleepless nights and negative word count? And what would YOU do?