Writing a book part 10 - getting emotional
I started actually writing this book in January. Nearly four months in, I've written six and a half chapters - about 20,000 words. That sounds quite a lot, but it seems to be coming very slowly. I'm still enjoying the process, and sticking to my regime of writing for thirty minutes every working weekday morning, but I'm starting to feel impatient about it.
I'm also noticing certain things about they way I write which I worry are annoying. One habit that seems to be repeating itself is gradually building up to some kind of moment throughout a chapter, but stopping the chapter before that moment actually takes place. Then in the next chapter, I retrospectively describe what happened. I was hoping this would be suspenseful, but I suspect the real reason is that I find it hard to describe important events in 'real-time'.
I've never been much good at expressing the emotion of a moment in a way that justifies how I'm thinking and feeling about it. This is a strange phenomenon because we think in words, so it should just be a matter of writing those words down. Yet far too often it comes across as clunky and awkward when I try to do this. For some reason describing such moments in the past tense is easier, because it's removed from the action.
There's at least one pivotal moment in the plot that will require me to relate a emotional moment in real time, however, so I'd better improve my technique. I've got three more chapters to write before I reach the midway point, when the main event takes place.
Something else that seems strange about this process is that I spend a lot of my writing time procrastinating around the plot points that I've summarised for each chapter. This can be quite enjoyable: I found myself writing a short passage involving a drunk vagrant on a park bench which was totally unplanned and spontaneous. It doesn't really help the plot, but I hope it is good writing, and I think it might reveal something about the main character through her reactions. So on the one hand, I only wrote it because I needed to fill the chapter out, and on the other hand I think maybe that's exactly what makes a novel good - the detail and context of the world it is set in.