Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Excuse#10 Slightly stuck

with 2 comments

Last week I thought that having some long hand to type in would help me carry on with my character’s story. It didn’t. I had reached a natural end with the pen and I did the same with the keyboard. I added 800-words to my tally, and had to re-write the first paragraph because auto-save didn’t, but I came to a sticking point very quickly and went off to make tea.

I had Adam (my main character Pippa’s ex-boyfriend) cycling through woods, and then cycling to a party at which he has to have a conversation with Pippa. Because he doesn’t know how to bring up his impending triathlon, neither, it seems, did I. Thinking on it for a week, I decided to remove the other characters from the party – Adam and Pippa will have a quiet moment after all the hurly burly has died down – but this morning I have stared blankly at the screen waiting for inspiration.

I seem to have backed myself into a corner with my characters only meeting on high-days and holidays. They don’t have day-to-day interactions in the street because they live apart and have to arrange see each other. This was working well, but there are only so many events during a 12-month period you can contrive to meet up. And once I’ve described numerous Sunday lunches, Christmas and New Year, and we are into kiddies birthday parties, where else is there to go? This is a worry that has wormed itself into my brain and has not yet finished boring its way through my concerns. It is something I will have to address in the read through of the first draft. (Once I get to that point.)

Instead of writing the story itself, I spent some time plotting forwards. This helped and I whizzed off a couple of Pippa’s email insertions. I imagine that, as the story comes to an end, meetings between the characters will become less frequent. The pace of the story, and possibly the structure of the chapters/ inserts, will change. At the moment, and I should know in a month (in real time) whether I’m right, I suspect the chapters will become shorter (as the characters have little more to add) and Pippa’s inserts will grow longer (as she wants to leave her life in order and experiences huge changes in mood). At the moment, all I hope is to have written something tangible within that month as I seem to be filling my writing time with avoidance activities. Now, sweep the floor or put the kettle on?



Avoidance has paid off.

Or it might have been the coffee.

It suddenly came to me that I don’t have to put Adam through the stress of telling Pippa his news. Instead I can have her report it in one of her email inserts. This is a great weight off my mind and so I have gone back to Adam’s cycling through the woods and injected the whole piece with some enthusiasm and evocative description. (At least I hope I have.) I’ve added another 800-words without him doing much more and that’s chapter 14 put to bed. Pippa’s next two inserts might have to change or move, but that’s something I can cope with. When it all goes right I don’t mind moving words around to accommodate. It’s when it’s all going wrong that I sulk.

The sitting and staring has also got chapter 15 roughed out in my head. I was struggling for another event at which to get everyone together, but conveniently one of my characters had an up and coming birthday. Less conveniently (for him) chickenpox has hit one family so they’ve had to cancel. It makes for simplifying the chapter and keeping me happy when I only have to worry about two points of view.

So, knowing what happens in chapter 16 and the following insert, I can really see me getting the story finished by Christmas. New words today probably around 2500, and it was a good day for stucture and plotting.

Written by Sarah Ann

November 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

2 Responses

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  1. How about having someone at the party walk up to Adam while he’s talking to Pippa and ask about his impending triathalon, or ask how his training is coming, or something. That way she finds out and he doesn’t have to be boastful if you don’t want him to be.


    November 16, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    • Thanks Neeks for the suggestion. You’ll see from the second-half of my post how I avoided the issue rather than dealing with it.

      Sarah Ann

      November 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm

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