On Leaping Over Obstacles



I’m working in the garden of my in-laws’ house this morning. It’s nearly nine o’clock and I’m just about to stop and feed the family. Foyle, my puppy writing companion, has already been fed and is working on a rawhide bone while I write. He’s just done something admirable, which I’ll tell you about later – he’s not just my writing companion, he’s my writing guru.

I’ve been writing about an hour. It’s still going well. If I don’t stay up late again with my far-too-interesting inlaws tonight, I might get to write longer tomorrow. But as long as I write at least one hour, every single day, I know I’ll finish the book by the end of August.

Today, I realised just how flexible and wonderful my close third person, present tense voice is. I’ve never used a voice like it before and I love it for this novel. It makes everything right, everything that niggled before is now radiant and my prose is…well, it’s downright lovely. I’m so happy that I fear I’ll sound smug if I tell you any more…

I don’t sit down with a list of narrative techniques and decide how I’ll write a project – it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes something I am writing just doesn’t feel right. It will usually feel tight, as if my imagination was being constrained by the form.

Today, while I was writing, my in-laws’ longtime neighbour, Elaine, came walking by with her two dogs, returning from the field where Foyle and I had been earlier. Her dogs took exception to Foyle’s presence, and though Foyle put his paws up on the garden wall and leaned over to say hello, very friendly, they growled and snarled at him. Foyle and I went and sat down, but he’d evidently decided that this state of affairs was unsatisfactory, because, after sitting apparently contently for a moment, he suddenly got to his feet, ran to the stone wall and vaulted over it, landing briefly with all four paws on the top before dropping to the other side and taking off after those uppity dogs.

That’s what it feels like to get something right when you’re creating with words. One moment, you are unsatisfied with the way things have turned out. The next, you are flying over an obstacle you thought was insurmountable, chasing those problems away.


Working title: To Hide Her Blazing Heart

Word count: 6983


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