Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Brain ache

Dave has been fretting about a cable that came unplugged from his computer due, he says, to my enthusiastic vacuuming. Now how likely is that? Anyway, Isaac, the family techie, says if everything is still working, Dave should forget about it. So it's going to be labelled and stuck in the attic with all the other computer cables we have forgotten the purpose of. 

He's quiet now, so I think he's gone back to reading Bob Woodward's Fear. Meanwhile in California the Aging Hippie is having postcard parties with her Democrat friends to write to voters in swing seats to persuade them to oust their sitting Republican in the midterms.  My elder fabulous grandson (14) asked me at the weekend whether if I could press a button and remove Trump and have Obama back in the White House, would I do it, and I said 'Yes! Of Course!' and he said - 'But what about the damage to democracy?' and I said 'Yes yes yes, I would still do it.' He was surprised at my fervour.

But back to the problem closer to hand (no, not Brexit - arrgghh) - my plot. 

I am working on my rewrite, specifically on the plotline, because that is where the trouble lies. I went back to basics and got out an old how-to book called The Weekend Novelist by Robert J Ray. You will see that I have consulted this chapter on plotting so often that the spine is broken:

The title on the left says Guidelines for Plotting with Aristotle's Incline. Posh or what?

Ray uses The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler as his model to explain the classic approach to plotting. 

I like Anne Tyler. I've read a lot of her novels, but I last read The Accidental Tourist 20 years ago. So I read it again so I could see what Ray was talking about, and this time I enjoyed it even more than last time. This time not only do I relish her characterisation but I truly appreciate her huge skill as a novelist. 

Of course, when I got to the end I had that familiar feeling - She's a master! Who am I kidding? What makes me think I can write a decent novel? - but having shucked that off, I am working hard on the plotline. It is slow progress. Very slow progress. I can't remember working so hard on anything, unless it was a sax piece. Yesterday I got out Take Five which I gave up on several years ago. I am doing better at it now. Some of my scribbled notes taken from Mel's instructions make me laugh: "Don't put rests between the notes - it is continuous sound and relentless."

Wish me luck, give me strength...I have another hard morning of brain ache ahead of me. At least we have autumn wind and rain, which is perfect writing weather.


Phoebe said...

Your grandson sounds lovely and the Obama speculation is in the realm of fantasy, but you can tell him the danger to democracy is not a reason to negate your wish. Trump’s election was “won” through thievery and foreign and domestic interference, not through democracy at work. Bridging both views: we need a fantastical do-over.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks, Phoebe. I did think of telling him that, but didn't. I think I will next time I see him, though.