Thursday, March 26, 2009

Feeding the Fish



Apart from feeding the fish - I just love this little widget - I have been feeding my novel. Scrawled words in the A4 moleskine notebook are starting to find their way into the laptop again. See the picometer on the right to see the way it's crept silently upwards after months of languishing.

Of course, the exodus from the moleskine isn't a direct thing. Words have a habit of changing as they move around, and they leave some of their number behind and gather in others I had no mind to include. But the wonderful thing is Precarious is swelling again, pinking under the skin, back to life. And I am deeply excited.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany about the motivation of the main character - I weary of novels and films where the character's motivation is always grounded in their life's experiences - bad and they act bad, good and they act good - you know the drill. In The Blue I let the reader decide whether the way the characters acted was entrenched in their natures or wrenched from them as a result of what befell them. I still don't know myself but I have my suspicions. For Precarious, I wanted something else to shape why my character is a precarious person in terms of her identity - and yesterday I got it.

The idea had been forming after a chance remark made by a customer in the bookshop the other day. One of those comments which spills with story and you long to know more. But the customer had to leave before I could get more out of her. Little did she know she left the story trailing behind her, and I caught the end of it, pinched it off and put it in my pocket.It is simply the most perfect reason for how my character - Nicola - acts. Now I can start laying out the clues. The first one was laid this morning ... a woman comes into the shop (a dress shop in the novel) and ...

I think I'll leave it there.

Oh, and if you haven't worked it out yet, click on your cursor to feed the fish.

7 comments:

In Real Time said...

I like the fish! But they were on the side the other day...

ideas and notes have a habit of accumulating on scraps of paper where I live - I've just put a bunch of them together in an online doc so I can see them/ write into them wherever I'm logged in (thanks, googledocs) plus it's a handy backup.

People's stories whizz past me all the time - I just don't always remember to grab them and put them away for later (Later is getting crowded)...

Mary McCallum said...

Yes, I moved the fish on the sidebar down a bit because it seemed a bit much having two tanks of fish side by side. I've moved them up again! Don't you love the single red fish among all the white ones. You wonder if it has a different digital life bring red - does it feel different? Is it an outcast?

I find all the scraps of notes and bits of stories stay in my head even though I don't think they are. Writing them down crystallises them but they don't go away. Just when you need one, up it pops, fully alive saying 'pick me!'

Thanks for the comment, Jane.

Rachael King said...

Aha! A little bit of insight into your progress and process. Love it. I am also loving my Picometer. Sometimes I type in my target for the day as extra pressure to make it. I hit 80% yesterday, but I have a feeling the novel's going to be longer than i initially thought.

Gondal-girl said...

I come and feed your fish regularly, so if you are ever away, let me know, I can look after them for you...

glad to hear the novel is pinking under the skin, all that talk of moleskins is talking to the space where my mojo was....

keep going

Vanda Symon said...

I tried to find the picometer widget but couldn't. I thought the pressure of seeing the word tally would help my writing process - nothing like having it in the public arena.

The fish widget is brilliant.

In Real Time said...

Not sure about a different digital life.... http://tinyurl.com/d2mb68

Maggie May said...

I think about this all the time lately as I'm writing my character's story, her motivations were one thing and have now changed to another. One of the most exciting experiences is just what happened to you= hearing or reading something and you say HA! That's IT!