The aim for month two of the Retreat West novel writing course is to get down 7,500 words. This is a manageable target and a gentle start to the writing process. We have been encouraged to write, in whatever way suits us. For some it is to start at the very beginning (can't help but hear Julie Andrews sing this to me when I read it), for others you may start at the end, so you know where you want to end up going.
I wasn't sure where the hell I wanted to start, but the organiser in me said the beginning.
But I didn't know where that was. So I had to think about the end. Now the end I know. I am just not sure how to start to get there.
This has caused much back and forth. On many days, to the point of such confusion I give up.
But, our course gives us prompts for days like those. Days when you can't get going. You can use these prompts to help write your story, or just to get you going with some writing exercise. Thankfully these days haven't been wasted, because I have found when I am unable to write and work on my novel these prompts have guided me into some flash fiction and short story writing. It has been lovely, instead of thinking long term, where sometimes it feels like you are wading through treacle, you just take a sentence, or a collection of words and start writing fresh, unhindered. Now, obviously sometimes at the end of these sessions you have written complete tosh, but other times there is a nugget of decent work, something malleable that can be developed and formed into something you are proud of.
I have, naturally, started a new folder for this stuff. It's pink (I live in an all male house - all I have is pink so leave me alone).
I just about managed to complete my word count for the month and selected my 3000 words to send to my tutor for feedback. I was pleased with my feedback, no matter how much you may have liked what you have written one day, at some point, usually the day after you submit it, you suddenly decide it's complete rubbish that you are going to get burned at the stake for coming up with it. So for someone to say there is good writing there, well, it kind of lifts you up. I need to work on the showing and not telling aspect, which is harder than it seems but essentially my teacher liked my stuff.
Now for 10,000 words...