Posted by David Rory O'Neill on May 28, 2012
After almost six months struggle trying to get going with the next in the history trilogy: ‘Beloved Warrior,’ I’ve finally had a breakthrough – I ditched it!
I’ve been combining writing with editing all the completed novels. My editor and I have been doing one every six to eight weeks. That was one reason for the struggle with ‘Warrior.’
The other reason was more subtle and difficult. The form I’d chosen for the work was similar to the first in the trilogy: ‘Prairie Companions'; a chronological progression following the characters down a time-line. That worked well on ‘Companions’ but somehow it was just not working for Warrior. I managed five chapters over six months and that is snail slow for me.
I can usually do a first draft of at least one hundred twenty thousand words in three months or less. More importantly I was not enjoying the process. I was not enjoying the result either. It was good enough but that is not good enough. I wanted special and it just wasn’t.
I’ve had the distraction of a house move this past six weeks and didn’t write at all. I was bubbling the problem and a few days ago a solution surfaced.
I will scrap ‘Warrior’ and start afresh. I will abandon a chronological progression and use a more free flowing structure based on intense personal character impressions. I will throw way the time line completely and go for a more stream of consciousness style. Trying to capture the huge sweep of the first war and limiting myself by trying to get the history in there was a mistake. I want this novel to be about what it felt like to live through that cataclysmic event. The history is too well chronicled to need repeating yet again. Free flow picture creation, nightmarish searing vivid events, raw passion and fear and living with that after is what I will go for this time. Throwing away the work I’ve pulled from myself like bad teeth is difficult but required and now I’ve made the decision, I feel liberated.
The other liberation was starting on a different novel. The last of the Daniel series- ‘Trial’ was begun today. Just six pages in an afternoon but they flowed nicely. Easy and free like I’m back in the groove. I cannot begin to describe my relief.
I’ve not lost it. I’m not blocked.
I’m not dried up!