Writing as Sculpture – chiselling down


Life is a bit stressful at the moment – imminent house move
– to name but one pressure point.

However, through all the turmoil, I’m managing to keep
writing – thank the deities. It’s a most therapeutic activity and is keeping me
as close to sane as I can ever claim to be. I’ve kept this blog going, I’ve
written my ‘Words With Jam’ contributions. (I hope everyone’s seen the latest issue
with the JK interview – the magazine is now available in print as well as

AND I’ve made good
progress with my children’s novel.

So I thought I’d post a progress report.

The first draft is almost finished. I can’t believe how much
I’ve enjoyed writing it. I was very resistant to writing for children, despite
my profession as a primary school teacher. But while I was in the middle of
writing my second novel for adults, the idea for the children’s story appeared
unbidden. It wouldn’t go away. So I had to suspend the grown-up novel, get over
my resistance and get to work on the young folks’ book.

I’ve found it to be quite a different experience from
writing my first novel. I’ve gone from being a planner to a ‘pantster’ (as in,
flying by the seat of my pants). This time I began writing with only the seed
of an idea and no real notion of where I was heading. Whereas the first time
round I had detailed plans and a carefully worked out plot – although there
were surprises along the way – this time I just wrote. And, luckily the story flowed
and developed spontaneously.

I’m not saying that I have a crisp, coherent and captivating
read yet. It’s more like I have a lump of roughly chiselled stone and now the
really hard work of chipping away, shaping and smoothing begins. The process
for the first novel was more akin to that of a draughtsman/artist – building up
to the finished artefact from detailed plans and sketches with precision
brushwork. But this time it will be more of a paring down from a block of (I
hope) beautiful raw material.

The hammering stage will be finished this month and I will
take up the chisel later in the year. In between –  as well as moving house – I need to dust off
my brushes and get back to my older people’s novel.

Okay – I know when I’ve done a metaphor to death – so I’ll
take off my artist’s smock and go write another house move to-do list.

12 thoughts on “Writing as Sculpture – chiselling down

  1. Sounds like your figuring it out and have a sound direction. It is very different writing for kids. You totally have to switch gears mentally. Good luck!

  2. I am constantly astounded by how I start with nothing – sometimes not even an idea, but I make myself sit down and start writing, and somehow a story just appears! Yes, it’s very rough and ready and needs a lot of chiselling later, as you say, but where do they come from?

  3. IME It’s not the writing, it’s the editing & then the rewriting. Last–and best of all–the cutting.

    Take out everything that’s not absolutely necessary & you (& the reader) will have the best possible experience.

  4. I’m also a pantster and love your description of it. In the next four weeks I shall finish my first draft an then I shall be chiselling. Love it! Good luck with the second draft.

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