Book report, week 1: hope and hammers

I have started 2020 with great writing fervour, dear readers.

Ok, that isn’t true. I’ve dragged myself into 2020, frustrated with my lack of concentration and nagging myself to commit to one – just one – project.

Things are about to change. Oh, yes. For I am determined to finish one of the novel projects I’ve been working on for quite some time now. So this post is a sort of accountability experiment to see if I can shame myself into getting the job done. I’ll attempt to post a weekly update on my progress (if any, let’s be honest) and you can laugh watch along if you care to.

For starters

What do proper writers require, I asked myself at the dawning of this fresh new era? Well, tea first and foremost, obviously. And a quiet space to work in would be nice. I cleared out an area of my cluttered spare room, bought myself a cheap and cheerful desk flatpack and then had tremendous fun putting together said desk. I never feel more like a writer than when I’m wielding a hammer, evidence below:

The project

The WIP I plan to focus on is one of three I’ve had on the go for a while. I blogged about it way back in 2015 when I wrote 10,000 words in a week, entered it for the Irish Novel Fair and found myself somehow on the longlist. The judges’ feedback report was extremely encouraging. Nonetheless, I abandoned it at the worst possible point, about 70,000 words in and an almost finished first draft. Since then, I’ve returned to it many times but haven’t been able to pick up the thread.

Cliff face

The problem with work you return to cold is that you have to go back to the start and reread it to jog your memory, and then you start tinkering with those sections rather than moving on to the far trickier unresolved ending. I reckon the world is full of beautifully crafted opening chapters. By the time you get back to that point where the story falls off a cliff, you’ve run out of steam.

A way forward

At the first UL Winter School in Doolin in 2018, I figured out one of the sections that was eluding me, and how to tackle it. But serious family health issues made it difficult to carve out enough time to focus on such a big project. Much of the writing I’ve done since then has been flash fiction simply because it’s more achievable to finish when a spare half hour becomes available. Returning to Doolin again in 2019 has given me further clarity, and I’m now hoping to find blocks of time to put to use what I’ve learned.

So. Here I am, attempting to dive in again to try and make something of all those words. Were they a waste of time? A trainer novel? I’m about to find out. My starting point this week was 75,044 words, 255 pages. Let’s see where my new writing cave takes me.

Newly built happy place

Want to read more? Week 2 is here


23 thoughts on “Book report, week 1: hope and hammers

  1. Hi Anne,
    Now I realise why I must not interrupt you for a while, and even more reason to thank you for your recent sign posts. Herewith my special thank you!

    My dear Anne O’Leary, I am, ever wary,
    Of the internet’s claim to be fair
    I try to dissemble, but they reassemble,
    Each item, I wish to share.

    Then Lo, I find thee, amazing to me,
    That there’s truly, something so rare,
    Advice without charge, a heart, clearly large,
    To help those with less savoir-faire.

    I will caref’ly peruse, your publicity news,
    So well presented to see,
    But with no prejudice, for I may be remiss
    In what is expected of me.

    I am, to be sure, a hack and no more,
    With a bent for creating a rhyme,
    But the poets I read, do not have the need,
    To explain the news of our time.

    I just want share, make some more aware
    Of the ideals we should try to explore
    And with my word play, do that in a way,
    To encourage, good folk, to do more.

    George Potter

    Liked by 1 person

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