Dead Ends and Secret Doorways

November 15, 2013


Julian Dobbins

Julian Dobbins

It’s been a tough few weeks for my novel and me. We hit a bit of a rough patch, to be honest, grinding our way through a mid-point crisis. It’s not been helped by some back story elements that needed adding, causing me to go routing through existing (and no doubt perfectly balanced and happy in their own skin) chapters. And as exciting as they might be (and I actually think they are – which helps) it’s not made for good momentum.

So, I’ve been languishing around the 50,000 word mark and losing faith.

Last night, though, I felt we’d turned a corner. I was feeling better about the whole thing. The back story pieces were in and making friends with the rest of the gang. It felt like we were getting along again.

And then it went and did this.

I say ‘it’, because it certainly wasn’t me. I admit, I was there, I might even have been holding the smoking gun… but I would never have written…

‘To Billy, should he outlive me, I leave my <insert something interesting here – collection of books or magazines maybe?>. He’ll understand why.’

Clearly, it’s someone, my main character, reading a will. And clearly he’s just read that one of the other characters has been left something of significance – something personal from their mutual past that will not be immediately obvious to the protagonist, the reader… or, indeed, the writer.

I sat there looking at it, wondering what on earth this was telling me. And then I sent an email out to the group, explaining enough of the context and asking for suggestions (silly or sane) as to what this item might be. And they were great. I got suggestions that immediately helped me understand what the novel had meant by it, what the item might actually be, and where it fitted into the various plot threads.

So, it seems we’re still okay, the novel and me, and I wasn’t being shown down some dark, dead-end alleyway to be bumped off so it could run off to the city to be a high concept thriller beneath someone else’s pen, but instead was showing me a secluded doorway to a private garden I’d not seen before.

The moral of the tale – trust in your instincts, and trust in the group, no matter how much you feel the answer can only come from you. A little sharing goes a long, long way.





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