For the last couple of months I’ve been writing my first proper work of fiction – a romance novel. In the past I’ve always leaned toward writing non-fiction (including a whole book last year), but I was starting to feel like I was in a bit of a rut. I’ve really enjoyed writing things like ‘Youth of Goan’ and ‘A history of Junk Culture’ on a kind of instalment plan, but I wanted a new challenge.
I decided to write a romantic fiction novel because although it’s a genre that is (apparently) sneered at by literary snobs it is loved by millions around the globe (including me). Anyone who is familiar with anything I’ve written in the past will be aware that I have always favoured writing about the lighter side of life, and what’s lighter or more positive than love? Love affects everyone, sometimes whether they want it to or not. So after devouring some divine Katy Fforde and admiring an Adele Parks I planned my first novel.
At first I was daunted by the scale of the task before me, but an inspiring book called ‘Successful Novel Plotting’ helped me plan like I’ve never planned before. So here I am today; I’m about 80% of the way through the first draft of ‘Why you’re unhappy’ and having a whale of a time. I’ve found a great writing buddy in the shape of Jenny Lock and the habit we’ve formed of kicking each other up the bum (to make sure we stick with it) has been a big help.
So what have I learnt? I’ve learned that all fiction is valid no matter who writes it, what style it is or what genre. I’ve learned that the way I write long fiction is totally different to the style I use in articles, reviews, online or in emails. It’s also become clear to me that no matter what happens in my life I MUST write at least 100 words every day to stay in touch with the characters I have created. Obsession is the name of the game; I’m sure my wife and family will be relieved when I’ve finished this book so that I can start talking about something else. This book has consumed me; my characters are real and (at least in my head) the events within actually took place.
Oh, and finally (much to my surprise) I’ve figured out that I can write really early in the morning. Previously the fact that I’m such a night owl made me assume I’d be useless at being creative first thing, but I don’t think it’s been too bad. Judge for yourself, this blog post was written at 7am!
1st June 2010
I have sent off sample manuscripts to a few agents, I'll keep you posted on progress (or lack of). The synopsis has changed a fair bit, you can read the latest version here - http://www.andrewlaws.com/things-im-doing/getting-it
You can also follow my progress on my twitter page here - http://twitter.com/andrew_culture