What do I want to say?

In my writing I am constantly faced with the road block of: What do I want to say?

Be it, where a character is going, the conversations they are having, the overarching narrative of a character’s development, the themes of the novel, whilst I know generally what I want – the delving into the specifics of this relative to each part of writing this novel is something I have no idea about.

I am able to put my characters in situations, know where I want them to go, but as for what they are saying means and whether it seems genuine to their character and what they want, I am often at a loss.

For an example: at the moment I have my characters are interacting and one character decides to challenge the paradigm. But when I write and re-read this I can’t seem to lock onto a specific of: Why do they want to challenge this paradigm? Would an astronaut do this? Is this manufactured drama, or melodrama? Is it relevant? What am I hoping to achieve with his conversation? I’m left with the vague idea of: it’s sort of relevant, feels a bit melodramatic, I don’t know where it leads, don’t know if it should just be deleted.

I don’t really like the idea of: every aspect of your novel should develop character or progress the narrative. Especially as in this situation the conversation I am referring to is developing character and progressing the narrative. However it feels disingenuous and vague. Or pointless.

But then again, I enjoy the start of the conversation, the banter.

I often wonder how other writers find writing. Whether it is vague like it feels to me, or if it feels lucid and vivid and “easy” and the hard part is putting word to paper. I don’t know, which is why I am doing this blog.

I am saying: A lot of the time – at least now – I have no idea why my characters are doing the things they are doing. They seem mundane but maybe genuine but mundane and genuine is not interesting and I don’t know where this mundanity is going or what it’s supposed to prove…argh!

Ok. I think I’ve resolved through this vent of sorts, that I will delete the conversation I have drafted. Time to take my own advice:

If I’m thinking about it too much. Struggling. It’s probably better left on the cutting room floor.

Apologies for the rant.

Also FYI it seems this month’s chapter might be a little late again. But at least this time I am engaged and finally getting back to a good writing routine.

Have an awesome night!

2 thoughts on “What do I want to say?

  1. Simon

    You’re hitting home for me with this one. I’m editing my manuscript right now, rewriting whole chapters, recycling some bits, fervently deleting others. The parts I am cutting generally arent doing anything and I reluctantly cut it.

    My greatest teacher of late has been Asimov. Through the Foundation and Robot series’ I’ve found every little thing he writes is there for a reason. Whether these little elements come into fruition immediately, or take a long time, they always effect something else. He has little linkages all over the place.

    That’s not to say I want to be exactly like Asimov (okay, fine, I do, right down to those exquisite eyebrows), but he’s my favourite author, and because I want to be like him, I’m trying to emulate thise writerd I love most.

    Still… my finger hovers over delete… hovers… retracts… extends again… hovers… and so on


    1. With great regret I must confess I haven’t read any Asimov as yet. I would like to eventually. At the moment until I’ve finished my first draft I’m kind of avoiding sci-fi which is kind of ironic…

      But anyway, I wonder about linkages and whether they are added in after or inserted like the gun at the end of Breaking Bad where the writer just puts it there and knows it will be used but has no idea how. I’m no good at this at the moment. I’m thinking I might add stuff like that in the first re-write. Although there are a few things that I’ve done that I had other ideas for which I am now thinking: oh wait, oh that could be used this way, oh that is awesome! And then I have to write the bloody thing, haha (the hard part).

      For me for each chapter I’m doing I have a separate file called: Chapter X Leftovers. And basically everything I would normally delete I just cut and put in there. More often than not I don’t use any of what I’ve cut, but sometimes a turn of phrase or an idea you thought didn’t work has a place – albeit maybe not where it was initially.

      I’ve recently also started re-watching a series by Robert Olen Butler called Inside Creative Writing. And it has inspired me to slow down a bit; Not be in such a hurry; Feel the scene as it’s forming in my head and realise it’s ok not to know where it’s going, just try and feel what it is “now.” And that has been helping me at the moment.

      Anyway, thanks so much for the comment. I’m glad some part of this blog is meaningful for people other than me, haha.

      Good luck with the manuscript edit!


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