This week on the blog, CWC member, Celia Moore, gives us an insight into creating her third novel and how her approach has changed since she first started writing in January 2017.
“Nothing stands still. We are well into March and my third and final book in the Fox Halt Farm series comes out in May. I’ve been reflecting on how my attitude to my writing has changed since I first sat down with a notebook and wrote out my summary for my debut novel. I soon moved on to a computer just for ease of editing and when I started writing I believed that after three months focused solely on typing the book out, it would be finished.
Totally naïve but I had no idea what I was doing and you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe that was a good thing because if I’d realised the months and months of rewriting, deliberation over every sentence, or the sheer time everything takes, I’d have given up before I even started. I like to focus on one thing at a time, only seeking out instructions when I know I am completely stuck and that’s how I wrote book one.
I hope the fact that I’m about to publish book three shows anyone thinking of writing a novel that it is definitely worth every second you put into it. I love creating stories and sharing them. My joy putting letters together in a certain order on a page to conjure images in someone else’s mind grows each day. The magic of just twenty six characters being used over and over in different patterns, making someone laugh, cry, or picture an argument, hear voices, imagine place, smells, and noises is a complete wonder to me.
In four years, I have taken the readers’ enjoyment more seriously. Readers are not only spending their money on my books but they are investing their time too (their precious leisure time) and they have expectations about what my stories will give them. With that responsibility has come employing an editor, listening to and acting on feedback, finding a proof reader, reading lots more books myself—analysing the way they too are written. I’ve read a lot about creating good stories too. I have taken everything on board and become super critical about what I produce, seeing it solely, now from my reader’s point of view.
I’ve learnt not to get hung up on my first draft. Instead thinking of it as the first exploratory sketch for my final painting. Making it, knowing that it is a map of how I want the story to be, not the final destination. It is something that will be redone several times, tried in different ways to tell the story as precisely, and excitingly, as possible. Looking at each scene, making sure it is crucial to the final piece—ensuring I’m not polishing rust, that I find the metal frame underneath and use that only.
I’m also in touch with four new authors, just starting out on their journey, sharing my joy of storytelling, how it feels to have your book in your hand. I’m relishing people saying that my books were a captivating read (and most recently someone saying in a review that they felt like family, caught up in the story too!). I share my mistakes, try to give advice but most of all, encourage all the way. There isn’t a short cut, it is only hard work, determination and learning that moves you forward—but you can’t give up and you have to love the fact that there is still so much to learn…