A Literary Mountain to Climb

A Literary Mountain to Climb

Twenty six, twelve, fourteen / Day three six eight

Thirteen forty two

The more observant regular reader will note that the keyboard of Little Blue II is still only semi-functioning, or rather mostly functional apart from the number keys and certain shift key functions.

I’m suffering an episode of writer’s block, specifically with the novel I’ve taken on which my Paradox series of short stories form the basis of. I have the bones of a plot, the first draft of the cover notes and at least three – possibly four – chapters written. It’s pulling it all together and hanging the initial hook that’s causing me problems. It’s said that the hardest part of a book to write is the beginning and that’s proving to be the case right now. The whole story hangs on that initial hook. I’ve got a beginning and an end written. Now there’s just the small matter of the bit in between.

It’s not just the writing of the actual story either; it’s the character biographies, settings, chapter structure and so much else. Writing a book – as I’ve decided to do – is like climbing a literary mountain, if not a literal or actual one. It’s like being faced with a cliff of books, spines facing inwards, so that all which can be seen is the white edges of the pages. It’s a white cliff. All of those pages are blank and need to be written on. It’s a big challenge but the biggest are often the most rewarding once overcome. In writing a novel – as I am – you have the opportunity to create people, characters, events, places and whole worlds. You then get to share all of that which would otherwise exist only in your mind. I love to write and short stories come fairly easily to me but a novel is a whole new and bigger challenge.

Why have I decided to write a book? Because it’s said that everyone has a novel inside them, struggling to get out. Most don’t make it and I may not yet but I do have the seeds in my short stories, The Paradox of Shadows, The Paradox of Reflection – both accepted for publication – and The Paradox of Time, which is yet to be submitted. With those two or three stories published, I may have a head start with the novel. Provisionally entitled The Paradoxicon, it could be launched under the banner, “Based on the Paradox series of short stories.”

Other reasons for deciding to just go for it and write the novel include advice and encouragement from my writing peers, readers and fans. Yes, I have fans. I’m not financially motivated as there is little money in writing and it’s a fiercely competitive business. A few successful, prolific authors aside, not many people have or are likely to grow rich from writing. But I lost most of my material belongings long ago, so money isn’t my motivating factor. I’m merely doing what I enjoy and hoping that I may be noticed and make some sort of living from my passion. I guess that why I spread myself to indulge in my other passion: that of cooking. Very few chefs are particularly wealthy but I love to cook and work with people, so if I can make a little money from each of my two passions, that will be nice. One day.

Some of my writing has been compared to some of the contemporary literature giants, namely Roald Dahl and Stephen King: high praise indeed. The author I aspire to write in the style of though is Paul Auster and it’s he who I continue to read and study at great length and depth in the hope of honing my writing skills to something resembling his style for The Paradoxicon. Auster though is a writer different to most others I have read. Along with the likes of Will Self and Martin Amis, he writes at a higher level. It’s subjective of course but I place Paul Auster way above most of his contemporaries and recognise a unique style in his writing. He’s the literary equivalent in my mind to Peter Cook in the world of comedy: a whole different level.

So this has been me loosening my elbow with a few notes by way of writing practice or limbering up for the job ahead and which I shall return to shortly.

In other news, the one I refer to as The Wife is at the forefront of my mind as we seem to have a complete breakdown in communication. She’s with another and I have no control over that, any more that I would want to. Truth be known, I’d like to shepherd her in a different direction but she’s a free spirit and needs to spread her wings. This she has done but seemingly to the exclusion of some others, including me. It’s that quote from The Shawshank Redemption again:

I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’ve gone. I guess I just miss my friend.

So yes, it would seem that my little girl has flown the pretend paternal nest. She leaves a big hole, the same as others. The one who’s referred to as The Ninja seems to be having a hard time keeping her head above water at the moment but I’m powerless as I’m unable to contact her.

Among many things on the mountainous to-do list for the novel is dedications and acknowledgements. Those two girls and others will live inside my book. I have room for them as characters and like the website I produced for my bestie Meg, inclusion in the book will be from the heart, using a skill which money can’t buy.

I’d better get on with writing the book and getting to know my characters more intimately.

From writer’s block to writer’s cramp.

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