I was going through old text messages to a friend the other day, when I spotted one from April 2012 that said “When I finish my novel, summer time, I’ll start on another short film.” Oh, how naïve I was. Maybe I was talking about summer 2013. Well, no, I wasn’t. I just surpassed 87,000 words yesterday and even though I’ve been rewriting from the beginning (the final third of the book hasn’t been written yet), it’s coming along nicely. Every week the story makes more sense and the characters are more developed in my mind. I think I was fooled into thinking, because I had the screenplay, I’d be able to race out of the traps and write a novel in no time. It’s been quite a lesson.
There are truly peaks and troughs in this endeavour, and going by an old post (http://www.anideasman.com/finding-your-voice/), I can safely say that I was depressed back then. Actually depressed, not just low. I’ve found myself go through those phases every now and then. Whether it’s to do with my writing or not, I don’t know, but when I feel low I will have great desire to write comedy, play computer games or do something fun and outrageous. Of course, doing those things are great, but it’s a reaction I have to feeling low.
I had a lot going on as well as writing. I was working my notice for job I’d been in for 4 years and moving onto bigger and better things, but with that came a bunch of anxiety. I was nervous about starting the new job. I didn’t want to disappoint my new employers and had a lot of self-doubt that maybe I’d fluked my way through the 2 interviews and they’ll find out they made a mistake when I started. I’ve been working there a month now, and I love it. And I feel better and got over my low-point. That’s not to say that it won’t happen again, I just need to remember the tell-tale signs and perhaps just don’t get so worked up about writing. But that’s difficult for anyone with a passion for something.
As I talk a lot about writing, I might as well give a review breakdown of some books I’ve read recently:
Mark Billington - Sleepyhead 6/10
His debut novel. I felt pretty disinterested in this. It wasn’t particularly badly written, but something I’m coming to realise is I don’t really like ‘typical crime novels’. You know the ones. Someone gets killed, protagonist cop is introduced, he (usually he) has some baggage and tries to track down the killer, all the while the reader is trying to guess who it is, culminating in a face off between killer and cop. There’s only 2 crime writers I’ve come across so far who I’ve enjoyed the hell out of and their ideas are based on that basic premise. Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs) and Steig Larsson (Millenium Trilogy). Larsson’s books are very rich in detail and aren’t just about catching a killer, and I can’t put my finger on Lambs… why I liked it so much.
Matt Delito – Confessions of a Police Constable 7/10
An anonymous non-fiction book written by a Constable working for the Metropolitan Police. This was pretty good and filled with lots of useful information and terminology that I could incorporate into my novel. The only reason I bought it, really.
HG Wells – The Time Machine 7/10
It was free on Amazon, and I like to dip into the classics every now and then. I didn’t know what to expect with this book, but I guess I was expecting more of a 3 act movie type book. An epic journey. But it was short. That’s not to say it wasn’t a fun read and some very nice imaginative stuff in there.
SJ Watson – Before I go to Sleep 7/10
A psychological story playing on the same hook that Memento used. Memory. What if someone forgot everything that went on the day before when they wake. It was ok, but I felt there was a lot of repetition in the character’s inability to comprehend her illness. You could see where it was going about half way through, but I can see why it became so popular. It took a hook (that’s already been used in Memento and 50 First Dates) and made a smaller, kitchen sink type drama out of it.
Kevin Smith – Tough Shit 8/10
I love Kevin Smith. He’s a filmmaker if you didn’t know, but he’s also an excellent speaker. Try and check out some of his live talks he did across universities in the US. Really funny and insightful into the world of movie making.
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl 9/10
I thought this was great. Finally, a book that I didn’t want to put down. The writing is extremely fast-paced and witty, with the language feeling extremely modern, almost like it had been adapted from blog posts. Great characters and some twists and turns that take the book into an unexpected darkness. I get the feeling Gillian is a discovery writer more than someone who outlines their books, which is why the ending suffered slightly. Kind of tacked on. Apart from that, great book.
In other news, rehearsals are under way for my community theatre’s summer production of Romeo & Juliet. I’m playing Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin, so a nice break from writing a book is learning lines. I completely dismissed Shakespeare at school but I love reading his work now. The language is obviously impressive, but from a storytelling perspective, his plot structure is exquisite. Performances will be at the end of July, so not long to go!