9th February

The end… or is it?

A short and sweet one from me today – and an early one – today I BLOT (Blog on Thursday) as opposed to BOG (Blog on Friday)!

This week, I have finished my first YA work in progress … well, I say ‘finished’ – first draft is completed and I’m having a few weeks break from it to work on an adult novel (see my 2 in the morning post from 20th January).  It’s a long way from being finished, and yet there is, I think, a feeling of satisfaction at having completed the cycle.  I think all writers must feel this.  But, there is an element of sadness too… saying goodbye to the characters whose skins you’ve crawled under, who wouldn’t exist if you hadn’t penned them.  So I have mixed emotions, and am especially sorry to say goodbye to my main protagonist, who is lovely!  However, I will see him again soon in draft 2… and 3… and 4… so it’s more of a ‘see ya later’ than a ‘goodbye’.

Those of you who read my post, ‘The Plot Planner’, from 6th January, may remember that I was using this ‘creation’ to help with my writing – plotting not being one of my strong points.  So, you may be wondering how it’s gone… if not, just humour me!  I didn’t completely stick to it – I don’t think that was ever the idea anyway – but I did follow it mostly.  And yes, I would make one

Re-jigged Plot Planner

again – definitely!  It got me through the first quarter of the novel spectacularly well, and the first quarter of the middle bit.  But, I confess, I had mad frenzies in the the latter part of the middle bit, where I peeled off some of the strips and shuffled them about a bit and stuck them back on in other places, and sometimes didn’t stick them on – as you will see by the blank spaces in the pic opposite!  Sometimes I ripped them into pieces.  Sometimes I wrote a new idea on the other gunky gluey side of them and whacked that on somewhere.  It was a lot more random than I’d thought it would be, and once I was into the last few chapters of the endy bit, things got even more random… in fact, I forgot to look at it for a few days, and when I went back to it was surprised how much I’d veered off course.

The thing is, it was fine.  I knew where I needed to be at the end, and I was still heading there, albeit by a slightly more circuitous route.  But that’s good isn’t it?  When you get in the car, sometimes it’s nice to follow your nose – you can always get to wherever you want to be from wherever you are… a nice motto to have in life maybe.  Anything is possible!

Me as toast!

Speaking of which, this week I have been made into toast by a fellow tweep @darbythefirst surely proving that anything really is possible.

Do you find it difficult to let go of your characters?

About Abi Burlingham

I write children's books and paint pictures inspired by nature, animals, trees etc, mostly in acrylics. I am a crisp addict.
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19 Responses to 9th February

  1. Jo Carroll says:

    Oh yes. I’m up to my armpits in a novel at the moment, and my MC is wonderful. Based on a real woman, born in Ireland, died in New Zealand in 1882 – you can see why I love her!

    And I’m still impressed by your planning.

    Enjoy toast!

    • Oh she sounds lovely! The planning has really helped with the bones of the thing and made me really look forward to the edits now, knowing the plotting won’t fall apart… am crossing fingers as I say this!

  2. Made into toast, eh? An honour indeed. Well done with getting to the end of your YA novel – now you’ve got something to work with – and I’m glad your planner worked for you. Now, Abi, when you say you’re working on an ‘adult’ novel . . .

  3. Thank you Dan… and yes, when I say I’m working on an adult novel…. *whistles nonchalently*… it has mucho good stuff in there (or will have) that will surprise, mystify and delight *sniggers*

  4. Jenny Alexander says:

    How weird that we blogged about this at the same time! Congratulations on finishing your draft, Abi. I think moving on with another creative project is the best way to handle those feelings of loss, and that’s definitely how I move through the cycles with my children’s books. Love the toast!

  5. It is weird isn’t it? Yes, I think you’re right re moving on to other projects, Jenny. The toast is fab isn’t it?

  6. Emma Pass says:

    HURRAH! I am so excited about your YA novel… as you already know, because I keep going on about it, ha ha! 😀 Congratulations for finishing it. I am like you – even if I plan a story in-depth, things always change, I always find interesting new paths to take it down and I always end up doing loads of re-jigging. Sometimes you have to dive in, start writing and get to know your characters before you can figure out what they really want to do, and no amount of planning can help with that.

    When I finish a book, I never quite know what to do with myself. I get so into the habit of writing that I feel a bit lost without the story to go to every day, and I always miss my characters horribly. They become so real to me that I wouldn’t be surprised to see them getting on the bus when I’m going to work!

    • Ha ha! Yes, you and me both pleased that draft 1 is done! Yes, re-jigging is a must and new ideas come in all the time don’t they? The joys of editing. Looking forward to a break from it now to work on new novel, but will look forward to going back to it too and fine-tuning! Yes, the toast is ace isn’t it? 😀

  7. Emma Pass says:

    Oh, and the toast thing? Genius!

  8. It’s always great to see the methods other writers employ in order to plot. I use a mixture of post-its and a white board.

    And yes – letting go of my favourite characters is nigh impossible for me. I recently discovered a neat little trick though… kill them off! 😉

    • That’s interesting. I used the post it method for my essay writing when I did my teacher training and found it really effective – it’s that hands on thing like the cards isn’t it? Very neat trick… haven’t killed anyone off yet, but my think about it now!

  9. Congratulations on finishing that first draft. It’s a good feeling isn’t it. Getting to the end and knowing you did it. I find the first draft the most difficult part. The following drafts I have something to work with.

    Luckily I don’t have to say goodbye to my characters as it’s a series, so I’ve already met up with them again 🙂

    Good luck with the rest of it.

  10. Thanks Rebecca. Yes, it is a lovely feeling. Good luck with your books too 🙂

  11. Kate says:

    If you struggle with plotting, like I do, try Larry Brooks ‘Story Engineering’. I found it really useful.
    Congratulations on finishing the first draft.

  12. Oh great, thanks Kate, I’ll check the website out 🙂

  13. Congratulations on the draft! What a great feeling — and I have no doubt the drafts will go well! And I know exactly how you feel, saying goodbye and saying hello to different parts of the process! I can’t wait until I finish my current edits on my WIP so I can go back and start again!

  14. Thanks Julia. It is a great feeling – it’s nice to put it away too to work on other stuff for a bit. I shall look forward to coming back to it for a 2nd draft some time soon though.

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