Thursday, January 29, 2009

Inspiration... or lack of.

I am in a state of limbo with writing at the moment. I am still waiting for rewrites on the Christmas book, which is hovering round the edges of my consciousness, and preventing me from going full speed ahead and getting properly started on my next book. Uggh. I wish I could do this another way. It would be lovely to sit down for three hours every morning after Spouse has gone to work and the kids are at school and just WRITE in a focussed and meaningful kind of way. But. I. Just. Can't....

Instead I witter about, putting off the housework. Now doing THAT would be at least productive. Visiting blogs I like, joining in chats on my online groups, surfing the net ostensibly for research, getting on with editing stuff I also need to do, and ... looking up songs I want for the soundtrack for the next book.

Starting a new book is incredibly daunting. In fact, it seems to be getting more daunting every time I do it. Is this the time the muse will fail to strike? Will someone find me out for the fraud I am? Will everyone hate it? Will I hate it?

Oh stop buggering about and just DO it...

I know once I take the plunge it will probably be fine, and this frittering/wittering time is I am convinced part of the process for me, because although I still haven't completely worked out my plot, or my structure, or even all of the characters' names, my subconscious is working over time at the moment, and every day throws up another good idea, which goes conscientiously down on the huge list I seem to be writing for all things relating to this masterpiece, and which I am hoping I still remember when I come to write it.

This book, as I've mentioned before is going to focus on female friendship. So the story is about four girlfriends - I've called them the Fab Four in honour of a quartet I was part of with my twin in our teens, and I've tried to give them significant names according to important female friendships I've had at various points in my life.

So I have: Sarah, who represents my Fab Four era, Beth for my university days (named after Beth Jordache from Brookie, which was a formative influence at the time) Doris for the time I got married, as a friend jokingly named me that, and I'm a bit stuck on number four who is representative of my friends now. I'm toying with Fran or Frankie as a nod to Dirty Dancing which is the favourite film of a good friend of mine, but I don't really like that name, so I may just ask my mate her second name instead, or possibly use a character from Desperate Housewives. Having not named number four is one of the reasons I'm a bit stuck, as until her name's right I can't get properly going on her story. I am comforting myself with the fact that Emily wasn't going to be the main thrust of Strictly Love, but came good in the end. So I'm sure my unnamed heroine will be fine... in the end.

In the meantime I am getting lots of ideas about music....

White Wedding by Billy Idol is a must, as is Here Come the Girls, by the Sugababes. But I'm also lining up: Ever Fallen in Love by the Buzzcocks, Shadow of Love by the Damned, Don't You Forget About Me Simple Minds, Always on my Mind Pet Shop Boys (all of which were part of the soundtrack to my own love life, and I need to tap into that emotion). I'm also considering Man with the Child in his Eyes by Kate Bush, Before I Fall to Pieces by Razorlight and Let me Entertain you by Robbie (good old Robbie, what would I do without him?)

Part of the process of this for me also is that I need to be working towards a major pivotal emotional scene which occurs at the end of the book, and always before I start writing I have that scene in my head. In Pastures New I soundtracked it to Sing by Travis, in Strictly Love it was Feel by Robbie Williams, and in Last Christmas it's Pretty Amazing Grace by Neil Diamond.
This time around, I had worked out what the scene was, and also worked out how I was going to utilise some spare untapped emotion I needed to get rid of without upsetting people I know in my real life, but I hadn't got a song. If I wasn't stupid, I'd have picked up Mad Twin's reference to it month's ago, but somehow I didn't, and I only got it from Medium Rob's blog last week, and then heard it again used to fabulous effect in Being Human. It's Johnny Cash's version of Hurt. Apparently recorded just before he and his wife died. Listen and weep...


liz fenwick said...

I think so many of us are in this state. thinking of you

Anonymous said...

So glad you like Hurt, ain't it wonderful. And that video. It was more or less the last video he did. June, his wife, died quite soon after, and he followed her a few months later. I've watched a programme about his life, and his daughter said it was really emotional to watch as there is footage of her as a child, her grandparents etc. Apparently, they toned it down!

I thought he couldn't surpass this, but his final album, American Highways 5 (produced by Rick Rubin who produced Neil Diamond in Amazing Grace) is staggering. There's a beautiful song he sings for her, not sure what it's called but the reprise is "I'll meet you further on down the road."
I love his macabre humour in the Hurt video too, willing to look death in the face. He has a line in another song, "I'm not willing to face Dr Death, I wish I could take a breath" or something like.
Wonderful stuff.

Good luck with the writing, the inspiration will flow.
Love your fab 4 reference (wasn't it five really or were we really 1?)Also, note there is also a family connection to one of those names!



Marie said...

I'm fascinated by your technique, soundtracking before you start writing. I wonder if I could adopt it? Worth a try. Any chance you could blog more about what it is that you get from soundtracking? Do you sit and listen as you work? As you think? What does it help with?

Jane Henry said...

Hi Liz, 'spect I'll get over it! Thanks for fellow feeling though.

MT - well it was fab five in the end, but the original fab four includes you! And family connection not unnoted, but was really trying to find a funny uni reference, and we were all obsessed with Brookie in our house, particularly when Karen Grant was at uni and one of my flatmates nearly had a walk on part...

Marie, I promise a more detailed post on soudntracking. Excellent. You've given me another excuse to procrastinate. Which is my middle name.