Diary of a Literary Commitment-Phobe

MizmazeIt’s a little bit like falling in love, writing. Previously I’ve been pretty promiscuous; I love the instant gratification of short stories and think of your own metaphor for Flash Fiction. There’s that initial wow; that frenzied excitement, the high of the idea.

But now I want a proper relationship, a novel, something long-term. This requires investment and commitment, so I’ve decided on 1000 words a day. Depending on my mood, this has been beautifully flowy or an angry argument.

Then earlier in the week I came to the ‘I’m not sure if this is working’ stage. ‘Do I even like you?’ I asked my draft. I was enjoying the parts set in the present with a first-person voice, they’re immediate and easy to connect with but the third-person 90s sections felt like a soap opera; too mundane, too real.

Last night I decided to end it; it was over. If I was finding elements of my work tedious how could I possibly impose it on a reader? I started considering other half-written novels I could dust off, get back in touch with. Interestingly my other ‘big’ projects all also stopped around the 10,000 words mark.

Then this morning I had a revelation. Blam! If what I was enjoying about my story is the present first-person voice then why didn’t I write it mainly that way, just include more viewpoints. I immediately started hearing voices for the two other central characters. I got all fluttery about William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Now that is a book full of fascinating people. And back to our MA’s reoccurring fairy-tale style; the past is a fairy tale so I could tell it like that, taking a steer from The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye by A. S. Byatt.

I was giddy. It was back on, oh yes!

Then this evening, when I was wasting time on Twitter, I saw Claire Fuller’s current post about dual and multiple narratives: http://clairefuller.co.uk/2015/05/28/writing-dual-narratives/ . Very useful advice!

Finally, I need to learn to shut my mouth. Pitching and talking about my idea has slightly damaged it. It’s a dream growing in my head, a bit special, and needs to be nurtured, not dissected over coffee, like a latest conquest.

We’re not in love yet, but we’re back to holding hands. When we’re not screaming at each other in the supermarket.

Kath Whiting
MA Creative & Critical Writing
Also posted on http://kathwhiting.blogspot.co.uk/

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Claire Fuller: 2015 Winchester Reading Series

Claire FullerBefore Claire Fuller was a writer, she was an artist, a sculptor. No surprise that her first novel is full of exquisite detail, captured by an eye trained to observe, then reflect back to others what she perceives. Early ringing endorsements from The Sunday Times (‘Extraordinary – from the opening sentence it is gripping’), The Times (‘Fuller handles the tension masterfully in this grown-up thriller of a fairy-tale’), as well as being selected by Amazon as one of their most exciting debuts of the month, have marked her as an author to watch.

Most might consider the prospect of spending time in a cabin in the woods as an idyll; a place to daydream in peace and quiet. However, Claire Fuller’s ‘die Hutte’ in Our Endless Numbered Days is anything but tranquil. Peggy Hillcoat’s adolescence is unusual, terrifying. Luckily for Fuller, her protagonist’s experience is not in any way biographical, though fragments of her own life, alongside that of her children’s, her husband’s, plus various friends, have been patch-worked together to form believable characters and situations. A writing assignment from the MA course on Critical and Creative Writing (University of Winchester) provided the inspiration for what would eventually turn into her first book. As well as the professional guidance received through attending the course, Claire draws invaluable encouragement from a writing group she attends, as well as huge support from the wider writing community represented within Twitter.  Continue reading

Claire Fuller – Coming to the 2015 Winchester Reading Series

book coverWe are delighted to welcome Claire Fuller, an alumnus of The University of Winchester’s MA in Creative and Critical Writing, as our next speaker in the Winchester Reading Series 2015.

Claire’s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, was published in February 2015 and has received brilliant reviews (at the time of posting the book has 4.9 stars on Amazon and 4.08 on Goodreads). Claire will talk about how she wrote the novel, how she found an agent and what happened next. She will also read an excerpt from her book.

If you would like to hear about Claire’s experiences as a debut novelist, please come to room SAB001 at the University of Winchester on Tuesday 17th March.  This free event starts at 6.00 pm and everyone is welcome.  Copies of Our Endless Numbered Days will be available for purchase.