I’m on the point of wanting to scream as too many ideas and false starts crowd in on me. I’m questioning every step I make. Have I chosen the right point of view to tell the tale. Which is the best first, second or third? If I start at this point, am I creating problems further along in the book?
Yes, the first chapter is great but where to go next?

This book isn’t writing itself.

I know I’m putting myself under too much pressure to the point of being lost in a fog of ideas. I see outlines and shapes. Excited by the possibility of kick-starting the creative flow, I move towards them. Only to find they become distorted as threads of fresh ideas become hazy. I know what I want the book to say, but how do I join the dots?

I’m scared that the tale I’m trying to tell isn’t original and won’t live up to the expectations of others. I also know until I have completed the first draft, I won’t know how it will pan out. The true magic of writing happens in the editing stage but until then I’m just speculating. Once I find the flow, the characters will tell the story themselves. The leaps in time have me stumbling around in the dark, clutching at straws. 

Another stumbling block is I want the book to be dark but not bloody or gory. I enjoy writing a chilling mystery with a supernatural element. The problem is some readers see the word Horror and decide it’s not for them. I find this sad as I’m sure I’m losing new readers because of it. I’m a sensitive writer who worries about what others might think or feel. I shun horror movies but enjoy a chilling tale. I love Victorian ghost stories and mysteries. The Victorians would gather the family together to read such books. Reading allows the reader to make the scenes as dark as they like.

All writers must remember the saying about Chekhov’s gun, which states that every element in a story must be necessary. If a writer mentions a gun, then there must be a reason for it. At some point, it must play its part otherwise why let the reader know of its existence? 

I think carefully about how much detail to include in my novels and why. I tend to write the amount needed for the reader to understand what’s happening in a scene. I won’t add anything for a shock element but to follow the natural flow of the storyline. I remember reading the guideline for writing erotica. You had to include several sex scenes in every chapter. I would find writing such books rather dull. It reminded me of the blue movies I watched in my early twenties like Confession of a Window Cleaner etc. There’s no storyline, no getting to know the characters or building sexual tension between them. It was a case of a quickie to shock and move on to the next sex scene. 

In Stone Angels, I knew I couldn’t allow my main character to rape his victims for three reasons: 1) it would have been too predictable. 2) I needed to keep the reader on board. 3) James saw his victims as things of pure beauty. In Seeking the Dark I wrote two disturbing scenes, which explained themselves the more you got to know and understand the character Amanita, the sin seeker.

Time to go back to the drawing board and find a new approach to the problem.

Have a great weekend.


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