Unwise writer, week 1: endings and trombones

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Is this a trombone or a trumpet? It’s sad, in any case

I have to be honest – the first week of my 14-week novel writing challenge was a bit of a disaster. After the fun of racing to the competition entry finishing line, I spent all of last week wondering why I’d taken on something so daunting and foolish. I’m not a reckless person by nature. I consider and weigh up and then take the most practical route forward, with a soupçon of following my gut instinct if I’m really convinced of something. This impulsive fit of madness served to remind me why I do things that way. The week’s musical montage is in slow-mo, set to the sound of a sad trombone. Wa-wa-waaah.

Having said that, I can’t really give up straight off the starting block, can I? Not when there are literally handfuls of people following my progress. So I start this week as if the last seven days were valuable regrouping time.

It wasn’t a total bust as I did do some writing and plotting (the novel, not world domination – I simply haven’t got time for that). There’s a wonderful resource for would-be writers called the National Emerging Writer Programme, produced by the equally helpful Writing.ie website and the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature initiative. It’s a series of videos that talk you through all the stages of writing a novel and beyond. One of many interesting pieces of advice offered by author Carlo Gébler in the videos is to start by writing an ending:

Even if your story ultimately meanders off in a different direction, it serves as an initial point to aim for, anchoring your plot and getting you from A to B (hence the metaphorical literary tightrope Carlo’s holding in the video, above). It’s certainly something I’m focusing my energies on, as well as ordering those pesky in between bits.

Word count: just under 5,000, though some of this was admittedly plotting.

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