Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Once More Unto the Breach

After the whining of yesterday's post I have resolved to shoulder my quiver of arrows and head boldly back into the fray. I thank all of you for your messages of encouragement, it truly meant a great deal and your kind suggestions shall be heeded!

I have found the trickiest part of being a writer is to put your head down and just keep going. There needs to be a confidence that what you're writing isn't complete garbage, or if it is, that the nugget of inspiration that started it is a good thing. Looking back can be frightening - I still remember the horror I felt when I discovered an old short story that I had written in Grade 11. I was so proud of it when I wrote it, but rereading it now was a big mistake.

It all comes down to self-confidence and knowing deep down that the story you're telling is worth telling. It's not enough for you to love your characters, you have to be able to write them in such a way that others will love them too. The continuing character in my books is a detective who lived in Venice for many years. He left because Mussolini built a road onto the main island. I grew up on an island and I know island mentality - bridges are evil. He also considers himself a wonderful artist and the reality is that his paintings are truly awful. I love him. I love his quirks and his wit. I love that he can't paint. He is loyal to his friends and his history has given him an understanding of human nature. I keep writing his books because I love writing him and the day I finish the third will be sad because that will be our good-bye.

How do you keep heading 'once more unto the breach'? Is there a trick I haven't figured out? Or is it a matter of simply ploughing through?


  1. There are all kinds of tricks, but it mostly comes down to ploughing through. At least, I've never been able to find another way. Nothing is going to make those bad times good. There are things you can do to ease the pain, like eating chocolate, but ultimately, ya gotta to the work.


  2. I'm in the murky middle of my book, to be honest. And I'm struggling through. I find in times like this, it's best to stop and write an outline to examine where I see the rest of this book going.

  3. I think you have a great idea—at least you implied a great idea. Play or read King Henry’s speech to the troops before the battle of Agincourt. Man, that gets me fired up to do whatever after listening to that.

    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remember'd;
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition:
    And gentlemen in England now a-bed
    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day"

    Gives me chills now.

    Best Regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  4. After Galen's quote, I don't have anything intelligent to say! It gave me chills, too.

    You could always kill off the minor characters you don't like anymore. :) That's the nice thing about mysteries. I've done a little of that lately. Your protagonist sounds fantastic.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  5. Jack; I may be the only woman in the world who doesn't go crazy about chocolate. I don't hate it - it's just not that special a thing for me. Never had much of a sweet tooth.

    Stephanie; I do outlines because without them I find I just go around in circles. Outlines show me the next step and help me set realistic goals.

    Galen; You have just quoted one of my favourite speeches. I have the CD of the soundtrack of Branagh's Henry V and the music for that speech is incredible...the entire soundtrack is incredible. Patrick Doyle is one of my favourite composers.

    Elizabeth; Thanks for the compliment! I adore him. Killing off minor characters...shall give it some thought. Unlikely though.

  6. It's great that you found a character to love and adore, for three books worth too! Even if I don't love or even like my character I have to be intrigued by them or I find I get fatigued. Writing is such a lonely business, all we have is our characters to keep us company, and if they're tedious, uninteresting, or directionless, well then, what do we have in the end?

  7. Well, you can substitute whatever guilty pleasure you want, then. :0)


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