This is my latest, a short novel set during WW1 and related to my best selling historical saga: The Prairie Companions. The characters are fictionalised versions of my own grandparents.
The title is based on a curious set of facts about my real name. (David Rory O’Neill is a required pen name. My actual name ‘David Moody’ happens to be already used by a popular horror writer.)
David is Hebrew and can mean: Beloved. Moody is an old Anglo-Saxon name derived from Muddyman. That means a professional warrior. My father and grandfather were both David and both served in world wars.
I’ve been engaged in struggle with my current work, ‘Beloved Warrior’, the second in the Historical Trilogy. The first chapter came as easily as is usual for me but the second abruptly blocked. That was six weeks ago. It was a novel experience for this prolific novel writer. I didn’t panic and tried all the worthy advice seen on other writers blogs. Nothing worked. I decided the problem was lack of free flowing fuel. My research had gaps I thought. So I got stuck into more reading. Tried again, still nothing. I spent four weeks intensively blogging and one result of that was this much improved blog. The blogging grew ever more intense. I spent time on my Goodreads authors page. In the dark wakeful hours, I tried to guide my mind on to the book but it kept worrying at the blogging stuff. I simply could not get my mind on to the block. I tried a bit of writing but it was like pulling teeth. The sentences just would not flow. I considered scrapping it all and starting again with a new structure. There are three main and several peripheral characters. I’d intended each chapter to follow one character within the same time line. Later in the book the three main charter’s time lines cross and they interact. The second chapter introduces the main female protagonist. A nurse called Winny, the sister of Pat from the first of the trilogy: “‘The Prairie Companions.’ I’d started with a letter from Winny to her sister Pat in Canada and the reply. It seemed like a nice device to give back story and establish secondary characters.
Yesterday I saw this was what was blocking me. The device was interrupting my normal story telling voice. I needed to loose this and just plunge into Winny’s story as I had with Dan’s in the first chapter. It worked, I’m flowing, the block is gone. Loud cheers from the beloved B, who was getting sick of my morose mumblings and cussing under my breath as I sat at the Mac. I have uploaded the first chapter on a page here as a taster. I’d really welcome feedback about it from followers and visitors. (It’s a rough first draft, unproofed. So please be kind about typos and goofs.)
Now that I’m unblocked I will be blogging less but will try to post once a week at least and keep an eye on friends.
What I do when I’m blocked? After ten novels in three years without any hesitation, I am finally faced with the infamous writers block. Not serious, I can still write but I seem to have lost the flow, it’s like pulling teeth and I am not confident I have found the right voice for this book. I’ve been working on the second in the history trilogy: ‘Beloved Warrior’ and have had two attempts to get going. The first I rejected when I noticed the soapbox beneath. I was having a rant, not writing a compelling novel. The next attempt got going and flowed the first chapter nicely then, thump, blocked. I usually deal with this by stopping and doing something else, in this case, editing the 5th Daniel novel: Daniel’s Grip. The ‘Warrior’ is till bubbling and I am immersing myself in WW1 history reading. Fuel for later.
I find if I try to force it I can produce work but it’s usually indifferent and gets scrapped. I must be patient and wait for the bubbling and simmering to produce the magic spark of creativity that will reignite, or should that be unblock, the flow.
This is the second cover design for Daniel’s Grip, the next in the Daniel series to be published soon.