I have started and abandoned this blog four times so far, each entry not seeming quite right, quite honest enough. I could feel something growing beneath my breastbone, some truth I couldn’t quite wheedle out of myself (I am painfully aware, as I write that, how awfully pretentious that sounds) and it took that many attempts for me to realise that what it is, is this; I am using this blog, this week, as a form of procrastination.
I like to write here, I often feel the need to, but I don’t have to. What I do have to do is write my second book and that is what I am procrastinating over.
I know the plot, I know the characters, I know what needs to be done, all that is left is the doing. I am comparatively lucky; I know many writers find the second book a struggle. I am finding it a struggle in a very different way, due, strange as it may sound, to the very fact that I do know what I need to write. I know it exactly.
I have been plotting this story for two years, I’ve written a hefty chunk of the first draft already. I have got to know the characters very well. I often talk to them in my car. Not Connie, possibly the very worst conversationalist you could ever hope to meet, but definitely Selina and occasionally even Michael. I write this knowing that these names are meaningless to you; you know nothing about them. But I do. And that is where the problem lies.
My stories are not nice stories. Anyone who has read an early proof of Never Go There can vouch for that. They are not sweet, or romantic or in any way pleasant at all. They are dark, the plots move like a twisted briar; full of sharp thorns, the odd nettle thrown in to sting the reader quite on purpose. And I have reached a point in writing my second novel where one of these characters I have grown to know so very, very well is about to do something horrid, something that will change the way she lives her life and views herself forever. And, despite her being fictitious, a part of me wants to preserve her innocence, to protect her.
So, instead of forcing her hand with my pen (or, more accurately, my keyboard) I began writing and swiftly abandoned four different articles. One on the feeling of seeing my printed book for the first time. Another on the disappointment I felt in forgetting to give a copy to my chap at the earliest available opportunity. The delight in handing a copy to my mum and to a close friend. The last on the realisation that I had unwittingly been writing about someone I know. These topics I may well revisit in the near future, but they were not what had to be written today. Today, I had to face up to the truth of my procrastination, to acknowledge why I was finding it so hard to write the next chapter so that, in the morning, I can begin writing that difficult chapter unburdened.
Wish me luck.