Progress- unearthing that precious stone

How have I got on with my New Year goals? Have I persevered with the horrors of that blank page? Here I am again, unwashed, in my dressing gown – it’s 11.30 and I have just written 858 words of a monologue to enter for the NAWG (National Association of Writers’ Groups). Yesterday, I struggled with my story about a witch – trying to think how a witch would get her spells on-line. Because, you see, in a story for 9-12 years olds, it needs to feature technology. Doesn’t it? Magic on-line? It takes some thinking about. A further 500 or so initial words strung together. About 1300 words in two consecutive days. Not bad – but I can do better. I have also kept up with my blogs – a further 1000 words or so this week. Do these count as writing?

Back to these first efforts of fictional writing. They look like rubbish. But I now know that they are not. These first spewed out words – un-thought-out, repetitious, ineffective, lacking emotional impact, merely notes in places – will become something else. Are they like precious stones; just unearthed, before their surface dirt has been removed- as yet, rough and unpolished?

In my office, I have a beautiful piece of polished stone bought from one of those shops that sell natural stones. I have a thing about natural stones. Our earth is indeed beautiful when we dig beneath the surface to see what it is made of. In a similar way, perhaps we need to dig beneath the surface of our characters to reveal them fully? What are they made of?

The surface of my piece of stone feels rough beneath my fingers. It is a dull brown colour. In contrast, its highly polished inside is smooth, shiny, the colour of marmalade with all its tones and hues (a good descriptive word?). Beautiful.

I can’t yet see the final shape (my writing). Its structure is not clear. But somehow I know that each time I read my words, in order to place another layer of elbow grease on my rough draft – it will be like that stone – from the first find (idea) to the final polish. What hard work is yet to come. Isn’t this where the dedication to our craft comes in? Preparing our work for that specialised readership – whether children or adults. In my case, both. I must bear them in mind. My readers. Me – my message. They must eventually meet up for a joyous, creative experience.

But I have at least written on the blank page (screen in my case) and there is some satisfaction in that. How do we know if that first find – the idea – will work? Some ideas have to be thrown away. I have had a few false starts when I have felt that there is no mileage in the initial thought. The idea stubbornly refuses to go anywhere. I have noticed that my best ideas often stem from an inner passion. I struggle to write about a given theme. But unfortunately for me, many writing competitions do have a given theme. So that is something to work on.

But my two ideas for this week are here and both show promise – so I will work on them. Witches spells on-line? Mmmm. I will break through the barrier somehow. I’ll report back next week.

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