Writing Fiction: Trust

According to Julian of Norwich, ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’ But she wasn’t trying to write a novel. Right now, I find myself wrestling with issues of trust. Dammit. Even typing the word makes me want to throw myself from a very high place. I am a couple of months into my rewrite for the second novel, and my explicit intention has been to abandon the previous character and write from a totally new one. Which means allowing that person to be themselves. And:

• Not thinking what the implication of each change is going to be for the overall structure
• Allowing new characters and scenes to emerge and follow them where they will
• Not panicking that the whole thing is going to spiral into chaos.

A typical moment comes when I hear one of the characters say or do something that is not clearly them. I begin to wonder whether to continue. My mind spirals off into the potential dangers. At other times, the character comes through much more clearly. Here, I have confidence to follow them. More often than not, however, I find myself accepting a general lack of clarity on the basis that there will be sense or inspiration ahead.

I hold two contrary emotions in my hands: fear and trust. At any moment, one is gaining ascendancy. Perhaps this is a better way of viewing it. Accepting the presence of both: acknowledging one, and encouraging the other.


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