Friday, 23 October 2009

Hearts and Flowers

Okay, so This Week's Excuse for the fact the wordcount on Red Grow the Roses has barely inched forward is that I've been writing a short story with a Valentine theme. It's getting subbed today.

Unusually for me I chose to write about a couple in an established relationship. I know a lot of writers like to write loving sex between existing couples, but it's not one of my themes ... Maybe because you've got to work harder to establish any drama. (I have to have drama. Descriptions of people just shagging does not do it for me, sorry.) Anyway, this time I tried it and it worked (I think!). But all through the writing process I kept getting these, um, "flashbacks" to how the characters met, and what they thought of each other, and how they got together for the first time. Weird. Can't use any of  that material - there's no room in the wordcount. It's just there, like they are real people with actual histories.

I'm taking it as a good sign.

Oh, that'll be Jung at the door again.


Jeremy Edwards said...

I had to cut a scene from a story I wrote recently, because my draft was way over the maximum word count. So here's an imponderable: did the action in that scene "really" happen to my characters, and the narrator just skipped over it ... or did it not happen? ; )

[Actually, in this case the continuity of the final draft leaves no room for that scene to have occurred, even without being narrated; still, I like this as a general imponderable.]

Janine Ashbless said...

Well of course it happened to them!

Deep in my heart I believe they are all real. They're just ... somewhere else. But don't tell anyone, Jeremy, because people'll think I'm a nut.

neve black said...

Or, Freud. Better go answer it!

Thanks for this. I always enjoy a great Janine insight. :-)

Jo said...

Anyone know John McGahern? I saw him talking, and he said for his last novel, he wrote a hundred pages or so of the couple living in London before they came home to Ireland, and all about their life there. But then he cut it all.

But he felt what stays unsaid is as important in a story as what is said and the missing section still informed it just as much as it would have left in, if that makes sense.

On the plus side, Janine, you get to file the info for future material?

Janine Ashbless said...

I suspect for a lot of novelists that's true - what you know about the characters, even if you don't write it, affects how they act on the page.

And at other times they do stuff on the page and you think "Wow - where did that come from?" and you only find out afterwards.

They have their own lives...

Sekrit Shoppa said...

Yikes, Janine, for reasons that may at some point become apparent, it has really spooked me that you have illustrated this post with a heart-shaped box. I'm extra-keen to read your Valentine story now!

I tend to have a relationship history/projected future for all my characters. Sometimes they appear in several stories, if they fit the profile, too.

Janine Ashbless said...

I'm intrigued!