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New member/old story

Hi everyone. 

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before. 

I had a good idea for a novel. I started writing. I wrote about 20000 words. Then I gave up. I put it on the shelf, so to speak, and had another idea. I thought: This time, I'll finish it. This time. This is the one.  I wrote about 30000 words. Then I gave up. It went on the shelf with the one before (and the one before that, and the one before that). My shelves are seriously creaky with the weight of past attempts. I was about to write 'failures' there, but I guess anything you can learn from is not strictly speaking a negative. What did I learn? 

I learnt how to put up shelves properly. 

No.Not really (although there's a tortuous analogy to make in there somewhere about structure and support I suppose....). What I really learnt is that the next novel I attempt really will be the one I finish, because I've finally understood that to make the thing work is to sit down and actually plan out the damn thing before writing a single word. The reason I stopped in the past was because I had no idea what was supposed to happen next, who the characters were or where...I...was...going. I always thought I could be one of those people you hear about who just sit down and effortlessly toss off a masterpiece first time. It didn't cotton after the first attempt this miracle for me might not happen. Or the second. Or...you get the picture. 

So now I'm here, humbly holding my idea in my hands, hoping to be let in and welcomed as a writer. A writer who wants to get it right this time. A writer who is prepared to swallow his pride and admit he doesn't actually know everything.....

Looking forward to meeting all of you here and sharing ideas around this virtual table. Mine's a beer though. 

Cheers, Sam

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Comments (20)
  • Just realised this post has gone into the blog - it was supposed to be a new member introductory post on the Coffee & Cake forum! How do I add a new post on that or any forum? Thanks. 

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    • The joys of the platform's terminology seeping through…

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      • 'seeping joy' - now there's a concept...

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        • Does make it sound as if you'll be creating something huge, but it is just a new post.

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        • Hi Sam 

          Welcome, I'm fairly new here too.

          Look forward to reading some of your work

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          • Nice to meet you, Sam. You’ll  enjoy this virtual table, glass of red please... You start new novels. I admire that: you don’t suffer from a lack of ideas. I recycled my first six chapters, oh about seven times now, and I’m still on the first draft of my MS. My main character kept following me around so with some support from a few here, I’m on a roll now: chapter 12 has just seen the light of day. I will be seventy with this snail-like pace but progress is progress. As Kate says, that sticking power! Enjoy. 

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            • Hi Cecile, thanks for the supportive words. Yes an abundance of ideas and a dearth of patience. That's been my story so far. Glad your work is coming on and what does it matter if it takes you to seventy! Penelope Fitzgerald didn't have her first novel published until she was 61 and then two years later she won the Booker Prize. That gives me hope anyway. Keep showing up!

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            • Thanks, Sam. Good to know she was 61, it’s a perfect reminder to keep showing up indeed. Good luck with the planning and the writing! 

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              • Hi Sam,

                I started a novel over fifteen years ago. Like you, 20,000 words, 30,000 words. Rewrote, edited, put back on the shelf. This year I finally (Thanks Covid) sat down, organized the story, and backstory, and finished it. It was like cleaning out the garage. Do I keep this, chuck this, put this somewhere in case I might need it....it was difficult! But I finally got it all in order. Now I'm on the first real redraft. Those characters just wouldn't leave me alone. 

                Anyway, I feel your pain. Good luck!

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                • Good for you for persevering! The pandemic has been beneficial in some ways as you say....I'm only just finding out that once a character has been created (properly drawn with a past and memories) can he or she really stick with you. All too often in previous writing attempts I've set out with only a vague idea, hoping to work it out as I went....hopefully now those characters I'm creating will have the same influence on me as yours had for you. 

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                  • So good to read I’m not the only one staying with the same story for years and years.  Well done! 

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