Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Monday Musing

First off, thanks to the folks who read and commented on The Gambler, Part II. It’s nice to see how others deal with these issues, and interesting to see how many different ways there are to skin a cat. Jennifer at Writing Cocoon wrote her own post on the subject. I apologize; apparently I’ve driven her to drink! It’s a subject that I may well come back to and explore again in the future: fish, or cut bait; hold ‘em, or fold ‘em; I suspect it’s a subject you can go around and around and around on, and my own views may change as I gain more experience.
This morning I checked in on my blog list and found a great post from R.S. Mallette over at From The Write Angle, a post that speaks very much to me after the weekend I came through. In essence, Mr. Mallette reminds us to cut to the core of the issue:Objective, Obstacle, and Tactics. You may say “This is news, Jeff? This is Basic Writing 101: Conflict.” You’re right, but it’s sometimes good to be reminded of this every once in a while. It was particularly good for me to read because I found myself again adrift in my book this weekend. I like the writing, but I’m not certain at all that I have a good story. It feels like I’ve got some entertaining vignettes populated by a series of recurring characters. I found myself asking What do they want? Why are they here? a couple of times while working on the book this weekend. This is a potentially serious problem, because it doesn’t feel like standard Doubting Writer Insecurity; this feels like it could be a fatal flaw in the novel.
Now it’s possible that I’m a little punchy. This was a tough weekend for writing. After finishing Friday’s blog post, I had a hard time putting dedicated time in on the book this weekend. We had a welcome, but distracting, house-guest for an overnight visit; a heat wave (I’ve always preferred cold to hot; you can always bundle up and get warmer, it’s hard to get cooler); an increasingly-neurotic dog who sensed thunderstorms through the wee hours of Saturday morning and, as a result, practically sat on my head and panted hot, wet doggy breath on the back of my neck; and we went to see Harry Potter VII.2 yesterday afternoon – I heartily recommend it to fans of the books, they did a nice job.
Anyway, it was hard for me to get in a groove. I did get some good edits in, but I think I may need to go back and start from where ever it was I left off on Thursday to get a real sense of how good – or bad – this middle-third of the novel is. I’m hoping it’s just a case of distractions pestering me, and not the symptoms of something truly amiss.
Have a good week, see you on Friday.

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