I don’t have that much to say from this weekend, other than I wasn’t feeling myself and I’m not sure why. I’m not depressed or anything clinical, just pissed off with certain things, which when it happens, affects my writing and that pisses me off even more. It’s a vicious cycle and one I don’t particularly enjoy.
Saturday morning I was up early and took Laura to dancing. I was half-minded to go into town for the morning, but instead I bought a Scotsman and Guardian and took them back to the house to read over a couple of cups of freshly brewed Italian coffee and a cinnamon bagel; a good start to any day.
I went to collect Laura at lunchtime and picked up some lunch for the family at the same time, before getting down to some serious work on Blood Ties. I came to defining some serious problems with the book and after working them through, also came to some serious conclusions.
Problem – I don’t know Lennox well enough.
Conclusion – Lennox and I sat down and had a “chat”.
Problem – the story is not balanced correctly.
Conclusion – I’ve started working on a new structure.
Problem – I don’t know enough about where the story is going.
Conclusion – I’m going to write a light plot synopsis for guidance.
In the evening, and until 3:30am, Gail and I visited one of her aunt’s on the other side of Edinburgh, along with her parents and some other members of the family. It was a strange get together, because Gail and I were by far the youngest, and at times I felt like I was intruding on a family occasion. Don’t get me wrong I had a good time and they are all lovely people, I just felt slightly out of place – I don’t know why, really.
Today, Sunday, I wasn’t feeling too good. I doubt it was anything Gail’s aunt made for what was a delicious buffet, including Duck Spring Rolls, Bruscetta, and pork pies, but I was on and off the bog all day with a dicky tummy. I hardly ate as a result and spent most of the day lying in bed drinking water and reading.
For my birthday last September, I was given a paperback cope of Ian Rankin’s latest novel, Doors Open, and had started reading it but let it languish. With time on my side today I started it again, and by 9pm, had read the entire novel – no one day. I’ve only ever read a full book in a day once before, and that was on a train to London for a job interview in 1998.
Reading Rankin’s novel from start to finish was not only enjoyable – it’s a great read – but it made me realise that the problems I defined on my own novel yesterday are all true. I felt somewhat vindicated just by reading someone else’s work. Drunks call it a moment of clarity, and I now know where to go.
My first instincts were correct and so step one is to get to know Lennox better. I need to spend more time with him and part of that will be through the writing of this novel.
Step two is to complete the plot of the book before I finish it. Until now it has been mostly “drive by night” writing, as Val McDermid calls it, but I don’t feel I am getting the best from this advice on this occasion. I’ve got a good story up to now, but I have murders across the city and several people who might be in the frame, none of whom have any motivation whatsoever.
I also need to introduce the point of view from other characters because it’s gone stale. Only the act of the murders taking place is described, with everything else being about Lennox. This ill-balanced approach needs addressed.