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  1. I suddenly had an epiphany about my disastrous tangle of a third novel last night. I mean, it should JUST be about my MC, right? It's basically her story, that's why I'm writing it. So... I should make it more about her, because out of 7K so far written, less than a hundred have included her. Which is probably rubbish. Look at something like American Gods, where Shadow is always present except in the out-takes to the gods themselves. Or 1984 when, again, Winston is always present. Those novels still operate on grand stages, they still highlight vividly new realities and bring forward important ideas, but they don't suffer this chaotic mix of changing views. Similarly, some of the less-good novels I've ever read, such as Darwin's Radio (Sorry Mr. Bear, but it wasn't one of your best), where a huge theme gets lost and entangled between perpetually changing views. Brave New World did the perspective shift quite well, but it was a comparatively short novel. Stranger in a Strange Land did have different perspectives, but they all revolved around the different characters interpreting the MC. LOTR obviously had lots of different characters, lots of different viewpoints (which I think is what I was aiming for), but Tolkien was a genius and knew every life story, every place, every blade of grass in middle-earth. I can hardly even remember my characters names. So:

    It's just about one world. It's just about one girl in one world: how she got there, what she's feeling, where she wants to go. All the side-stories were dark and gorgeous and I LOVED them. But they don't really need to exist, so I must be brutal, and consign them to the septic tank of my imagination. If I tie them up in bin-bags, and give them airholes and let them float, I might be able to resurrect them in other stories, at other times. It's most important to get this one finished.

    As I keep saying: learning curve ;)
  2. wow, it was harder than I thought to accept criticism, even on something that I think is really just scrap. Something I need to practise. I appreciate the point of the forums here but I can see that I'm more sensitive than I thought I was. I also wonder if I should be actually writing rather than writing about writing. I'm not sure right now. Hmm.
  3. I've been asleep for the whole of today (Saturday), and when I haven't been asleep I've been laying in bed, groaning in pain and reading His Dark Materials. I don't actually like it much, I would prefer a little bit more imagery, and I also find the dialects a bit annoying.

    I'm in a dilemma: I'm facing two choices in my life right now. Neither may amount to anything, I'm under no illusions about that, but I'm applying for two different jobs: one which is quiet and fun and will give me tons of time to write, and the other is one of those career-move kind of jobs that you end up having to devote 16+ hours a day to in order to survive in the dizzy heights.

    It cuts right to the core of me. How seriously do I take my writing and my work/life balance? I've only just started making a commitment to writing regularly. Job 'a' is a fun desk job, with people I know and like. Job 'b' is the kind of thing I struggled through uni, my Masters, a year of volunteering and months of project work. I know perfectly well that the JG (my long-suffering third novel) will get instantly shelved, I'd have to consider things like professional exams and certifications and all my writing time would be gone, let alone pretty much all my evenings and weekends.

    Am I allowed to take my writing seriously in this? My mum thinks not, that writing is just a hobby and in that sense it is one of the many things that gets abandoned in adulthood, like sparkly mascara or black nail varnish or dreams of real love.

    I disagree. Writing wasn't a shimmering idea that started as a teenage rebellion. I was writing complicated stories and poems as young as five. In fact, the idea for the JG is rooted back then. Is it time that I just 'grow up,' and put writing aside for, oh, forty years until I retire?

    It's a part of me, a part that is pre-Cambrian compared to the mortgage and the direct debits and the office clothing. Dare I allow myself to even want a two-year contract, that will inevitably lead to a five-year contract, and then suddenly I'm sagging and middle-aged and disappointed with my life?

    Or do I throw it all away on a risk, the chance that my writing is more important than the day job, and take the one that is fun and fulfilling in the short term but leads to nothing in the long? Dare I do that?

    I feel like this is the biggest choice I've ever had to make and the ironic thing is that all this worry and it might not lead to anything. I've got ages and ages before the closing date of one of them anyway, and there's no guarantee of either, not by a long shot. I don't know what to do...
  4. The last seventeen days have passed uneventfully, apart from the fact that I've written a 50,000 word novel for Nanowrimo, spent one weekend in Bristol and attended the most wonderful conference ever, spent another weekend the weekend in the Lake District, have taken some beautiful shots and had lots of extremely random conversations with strangers on trains and in my local supermarket. I also met the First Minister, but that was on the second-last day of October, and therefore doesn't count.

    I'm a bit confused actually. I don't know how to feel. My dad used to tell me that you write best when have to do so when extremely busy, and I've finished two novels since starting my first 'real' post-University full-time job (heck, I've been working a year, but this is the only one that is a respectable job in any sense of the word).

    I feel... like I can only learn from experience. There is no point writing slowly, really. I know I can hit targets and I know I can write. But I've still got so much to LEARN - how to make my characters more vivid, how to increase my vocabulary and use of language, how to make my thoughts interesting, how to make my worlds stand out more and not seem so cliched... I've got so much to learn. But, like everything, you learn 'on the job' as it were, so I suppose that's why I'm here...