Someone once likened writing a novel to wrestling an octopus into a mayonnaise jar. I didn't have one of those, but I thought an empty olive tin might do just as well.
I'm in the process of concocting a new story, and if we are continuing with this telling image, I have to admit that several tentacles are trying to escape as fast as I am trying to shove them in.
I ask myself why I am finding it more and more difficult to get started the more novels I write. The first one was easy, because of blind and more or less blissful ignorance. I leapt in, blundered around, and got on with it. (A lot of editing was needed later.) The second and third were parts of a trilogy so the principal characters were established and the story told itself. Four and five were a little harder, but the beginnings seemed to present themselves logically. Six was a problem, and I had to get some help from my writing buddy, who is a mile better at structure than I am.
But six, while not yet even available on Amazon, is for me a thing of the past. It's always the way - by the time it gets to the reader it's been through many edits and proof-reads both before and after being submitted for publication. I hope that whoever reads it will find it fresh and adequately gripping, but for me it's done and dusted, and I'm keen to get my new story onto the page. This one's still fresh and gripping, but it's also intractable - just like that slithery eightfold sea creature.
The story is not just in my head; it also exists as many notes and I have done quite a lot of research. I'm certainly more knowledgeable that I was, whether or not this knowledge ever becomes part of the book. I have got to know my protagonist better and better with time. So what's holding me up?
I'm suffering from overwhelm, and I don't quite know how to reduce the mass of thoughts into a manageable list of scenes. If anyone has a similar problem, or indeed has found a solution, I'd be grateful to hear it. Meanwhile, in order to persuade myself that I really must buckle down, I have bought a book. Will it help?
Sue writes as S.L.Russell and her latest novel 'A Vision of Locusts', published by Instant Apostle, will be released on 20 October.
The others can be found in the usual places as paperbacks and to download to Kindle.