Image via WikipediaI'm going to start blogging more about writing. I'm sorry about that for some of you, to whom it will possibly be irrelevant bibble, but I guess this blog was always about what interested and amused me and I've actually been missing out on quite a large chunk of what I'm made up of by not doing more about the old nasty book habit.
The hardest thing I find about writing fiction is not the plotlines or characterisation or any of the other technical gumpf that goes into it. And it's not the 100,000 words or so that some people seem to find a challenge. I always reckon if you're counting words, you're missing the point, like the many people I see talking about NaNoWriMo* getting all breathless with comments like "Up to 12,000 words now! If only I could crack off another 2,000 today!"
Believe me, I know how easy it is to churn out words and then find that all you've done is filled pages with words. Filling pages with words is a doddle. The trick is which words.
The hardest thing for me about writing books is getting my head back into reality. There I am in a South London cemetery, the smell of wet leaf-mould in my nostrils and the wet grass soaking the legs of my trousers and someone pops up and wants to talk about the price of cabbages or the weather. Or I'm in a dingy hotel room with a prostitute and someone is beeping me to move over for them.
It's not just a problem that happens when 're typing, either, the whole barrier that separates fantasy and reality gets thinner as you spend more and more of your waking time living the odd lives of your characters, poring over their situations and experiencing the smells, sights and sounds that surround them.
I suppose you'd have to own to the possibility that you might not come back one day. But being dragged back to reality when you're writing, even in your head, is always like being woken in the middle of great dream.
And by the way, no, truth is stranger than fiction... It's always a bump to come back.
* November is Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a book, if you were ever going to do it, now being the time to do it. I recommend writing books as a leisure activity. It improves the digestion.