Monday, January 18, 2010

Take one friend with a glass of water and call me in the morning...

It is often the way. Everything we need to write our stories is already in our heads: the ideas, the idiosyncracies of our characters, the background, and the solutions to the fiercely independent, badly behaved plots that have wormed their way onto our pages. We hold our headachey heads and complain that 'we just can't do it.' But it really is all there. Sometimes we just need someone else to stick their fingers in and point these things out when we can't see them for ourselves. TK Roxborogh hinted at this on her blog yesterday. I have been having a 'moment' about my middle grade mystery thrillery story that I am editing: the one with the yoyoing plot element (currently weaving itself painfully back into the rest of the story). I decided its too complicated. I couldn't even explain the story to myself (never a good sign). Then, last night I had dinner out with a good writery friend and we wuz discussing our WIP's. Maybe it was the alcoholic lubrication that rendered me locquacious. Maybe it was because we'd already been talking writery things for awhile and my brain was sufficiently limbered up to tackle the task. Maybe it was having to explain my story to someone who expects a coherent plot, and whose opinion I respect that suddenly found me able to describe what goes on in my novel. Probably all of those things contributed to the moment of clarity. And I thought - crikey, that actually makes sense. I hadn't choked. I'd managed to rise to the challenge. Thank you Tania H. Ha ha - its not the story that has a problem, the story is just fine - its ME! The important thing I have to try and remember when struck with doubt and worry, is that even if I can't always immediately access it, everything I need is swilling around inside my head. Sometimes the path to clarity is an unexpected one. Its a nice twist that friends are often the catalyst. If you are stuck, or confused just take one friend with a glass of water (or coffee, tea, wine etc...) - you'll feel better in no time


Tania Hutley said...

Shouldn't the title of this blog be "Take one friend with a bottle of bubbly...?" Glad I could help, but I think maybe it was the bubbles that loosened it up and made the baby slide out nice and easy. But, hey, I'm happy to take the credit!

PS. And you accused me of not reading your blog! See, I do!!

P.P.S. Any time you're having a blockage, I'm more than happy to help you apply alcohol to the problem.

TK Roxborogh said...

Okay. Prob little to do with your blog post but I just want to put my hand up and say that I am officially a fan of Melinda Szymanik. Not only cos she probably has the same battles with the spelling of her fab surname but because she is, like Vanda Symon a domestic goddess. I have been to her house people and I would like to report that children and pets were suitably tame. God, beautiful children. If having kids like these makes you ‘okay’ then I’m pleased to be part of THAT popularity group. But, hell we all know beloveds whose off-spring don’t fit that mould and we are fiercely protective.

Anyway. Melinda is more political than me (publically) and I love it. Actually, I’m really into kick arse but because of legal issues can’t be specific. Needless to say, hubby hasn’t changed his identity status – yet.

Ooh, but Melinda says they things we really want to say and I admire her. Once I’ve done with suing a certain institution I will join her in being as blunt as people once knew me to be before I moved to the Edinburgh of the South where everyone knows everyone and I cannot walk into a restaurant without people pointing and whispering (and it aint about me being a writer and no, I am faithful as is he).

For the those in the north: what appeared in Monday’s Otago Daily Times.
Garden Plots

by Ruth Arnison

A lunchtime walk, winter brisk. Gloves, hats and foggy words
keep us warm. Lights at the Gardens intersection
overridden by police.

Observing our pedestrian status they stopped traffic, wave us across
like ducklings strayed onto a busy road. Embarrassed we scurry,
middle-aged, ungainly.

At the drinking fountain, the pipes are frozen, our midday thirst
unquenched. We turn right after the bridge, taking the path
to Dundas St. You know, she says,

I can't walk here on my own. Not since… Vanda, I prompt.
Yeh, she says, I think it was down there, the murder.
A jogger brushes past us, shivering we move on.

She's writing another one, she says. It's not right, authors
taking over the city. Soon we'll be walking all over
their plots

Melinda Szymanik said...

Tania H. with that kind of encouragement I'll be creating blockages...

Tania R - thank you for the kind comments about my offspring. I do think my kids are beautiful (but not so sure about the tame part)

and political? Crikey, I thought I was being restrained :) Now I'm curious to know what I said...

love the poem btw

Old Kitty said...


I'm all for alcohol and a best friend on the same wavelength as you to share with to help with creative blockages!

This lovely piece brings back all sorts of lovely memories of nights and early mornings spent in goodness knows where, suitably inebriated but gushing forth with ideas for our future novel together. Abandoned now of course, but the friendship sustains, which is no bad thing.


Take care

KarenG said...

Melinda, I started following your blog during the Nicola party but hadn't had a chance to thoroughly investigate further. Then you left a comment on mine (thank you btw and yes that's basically it--easy vs. hard!) and I came over here. Love this post about getting past the blockage (eww, that doesn't sound good!)

It is all in our heads or our hearts, and sometimes it takes just the right combination to release the genius.