I was going to moan about various aspects of my ever so slightly stressful life, but then I kind of put it all into perspective and frankly my house hasn't fallen down, nor has it been washed away by a giant wave, and I'm not being bombed or attacked. In fact, really, stuff could be better, but all the important people are right here in this room with me (apart from the cat).
Then I thought I'd explain where I've been since last week, but I think I can sum that up in one sentence. I went to Berlin (HOORAY!!!) and then was very, very busy with work.
Right, so now let's talk about some interesting stuff and I warn you now that I am:
a) going to waffle on;
b) ask YOU some rather difficult questions.
On the 1st April SCBWI France has organised a cocktail party, literary discussion, and pitch session with agent John. M. Cusick. He has also written a book called Girl Parts and if you don't know who he is, there's an interview here.
The literary discussion will focus on: How can I find the heart of my story and will it be enough to make an agent fall in love?
So I'll now start to waffle. There's been a lot of stuff about being a pantser or plotter bobbing around the blogospehere, and I have to say that up until NaNo this year I was a complete pantser. Now, although I planned A twist in the tail, I did somewhere in the back of my head question whether the planning was going to leech all the creativity out of writing. So I knew what I was going to write, but ... HERE COMES b) well what's the heart of my story? I know, you don't know, you haven't read it, but what is it? Is it the themes? And if it is the themes, how do I say it in a snappy, hey, love this story kind of way? And should we plan this heart, or does this heart just come out as you are writing?
BACK TO a) Personally, I think that the heart comes out as you write. I don't think I've ever sat down and consciously thought: I'm going to write a story about homeostasis (partly because I didn't even know what it meant until last week), but what do you know, one of my characters is the epitome of homeostasis. And I didn't conciously plan to write a book about friendship either, but that's what jumped out as I was writing. What I'm coming around to thinking is this. The more I read author websites/blog posts the more evident it becomes that we all write in different ways. So whether you are planner or pantser it doesn't matter, but there comes a point where we have to find the heart to give the story a healthy beat.
What I mean is at the moment I am wrestling with a very wet MC (no pun intended). What jumped out after the first draft was that the reader had no idea what the MC's motivation was, so I built up the theme of friendship and made that clearer. But the MC is still bleurgh. And now (seriously, just now) I'm thinking that my MC is really dealing with loss and that might be what makes her a stronger character. So perhaps the heart of the story is really what's in the heart of that main character, what is driving your main character and therefore the story.
BACK TO b) So what do you think? Please let me know before April 1st in the comments. Ta very much.