Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Snakes & Ladders of Writing...

I realised today that writing can be a bit like snakes and ladders. You work your way along the board and sometimes everything goes well, or you get a good moment so up the ladder you go.

Then the bad spells are the snakes. You hit them and end up at the bottom of the snake; sometimes the slide back is short, other times it can be a long way down.

When you finally get to the end- whether you win or not- you can walk away, but the next time you want to play, you have to start all again.

That's what writing a novel of any length feels like to me, snakes and ladders.

I'd decided earlier in the year that if the opportunity came along to enter a romance new talent competition, I should go for it. I've learnt so much the past two years, and finally felt I was ready to try.

Although the Harlequin competition So You Think You Can Write was interesting, I didn't have anything fully complete, and I'm a slow typer...

The next opportunity was The Festival of Romance, New Talent Award. This required a first chapter, maximum 2,500 words. Then when the festival weekend was cancelled I did wonder whether the competition would run. Well it is, but as part of the Love Stories Awards instead,

The New Talent Award "is intended to shine a spotlight on the authors of tomorrow."

Now I have had a week of snakes and ladders as a result...

I have three different projects, so three first chapters all in different stages. The Dorset one needs too much work, as much as I love my current work in progress, it isn't what I want to concentrate on- though I have the last two chapters of draft one still to finish, rumbling around in my mind.

So the 1802 based story it is. I already had some revision notes made, but where to start?

After a number of snake moments from which I picked myself up, I got into a method that seemed to work for me.

The deadline for submitting by email is midnight BST 1st October. There's a £3.50 entry fee (to fund a trophy and presentation to the winner and shortlisted writers).

If I don't feel the chapter is good enough, then I won't enter it- and my contemporary romance first chapter may get an unexpected outing (the first three chapters had a lot of work done to get them ready for last year's romance trophy competition at the writers' club).

The aspect that hit me hard today was starting again.

I'd completed the historical first draft a year ago. I'd taken my characters through meeting again, the difficulties, falling in love and eventually gaining their happy ever after (HEA). Now I had to go back to the start of the relationship and put aside all those moments and revelations I'd written about, and get my mindset back to that initial meeting.

It was slow progress, but then everything clicked into place. I've climbed a short ladder today. I just need to keep climbing...

Making progress...








Image courtesy of ddpavumba &www.freedigitalphotos.net









7 comments:

Teresa Ashby said...

Keep climbing those ladders, Carol xx

Carolb said...

I will, Teresa. Thanks. :)

Patsy said...

Yes, it does feel a little like that. We do have to start again each time, but we've (hopefully) learned a few things along the way which help us. We start to recognise the ladders and grab onto them. Sometimes we can sidestep a few of the snakes.

Wendy's Writing said...

I love the Snakes and Ladders analogy. t's so true - up one minute and down the next. good luck with the competitions.

Carolb said...

Yes, you're right, Patsy. I've learnt a lot over the past two years, and can see so much more than I could previously, so hopefully more ladders and less snakes.

Carolb said...

Thanks, Wendy. :-)

Phil Granere said...

You have an awesome blog! I'm going to enjoy reading it. Definitely following! :)