The Power of Story

theendIt’s finished! Phew!

Yes, I finally finished The Book Without An Ending (actual working title: Beneath The Water) and, let me tell you, it was a massive relief.

As I write without a plan, there are always several ‘oh, bugger, what on earth is going to happen next?’ moments, but once I get half-way or two-thirds in, I usually have a clear idea of where it’s heading. The details of this can change, but there is a general, comforting gist. Not this time.

After typing ‘The End’ (hooray!), I took the week off from writing, but kept having those annoying post-finishing thoughts about things I could have added/made better. Urgh.

Still. It’s away on submission, so there is nothing more I can do right now – except obsessively check my email for news, of course.

So, I have been catching up on email and admin/accounts and, more importantly, Reading For Fun. Such a joy after being on deadline.

I loved Anne Marie Casey’s smart and engaging The Real Liddy James, and am halfway through Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link. I haven’t read any of Kelly Link’s stories before and they are extraordinary. Next, I’m going to dive into Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must Be The Place which I wanted to read the moment it came out. I am a huge fan, but I forced myself to wait so that I could give it my full attention.

In other news, my eldest turns sixteen next week. Sixteen! I am always wobbly and emotional before my children’s birthdays, but this does feel quite significant. She is talking about university and the next stage of her life and it is really beginning to hit me that she will, one day soon, leave home. Gah.

To celebrate the Strange And Terrible Linear Passage Of Time (or, ‘birthday’, if you prefer), we had a family trip to Comic Con in Glasgow. My daughter and I did our first ever cosplay as a mother-and-daughter demon hunting team and we met the fantastically talented (and lovely) Hillywood sisters.

We also saw Jenny Colgan speaking on a panel about writing and publishing Science Fiction, stocked up on cuddly Totoro toys (you can never have too many), and generally had a blast.

If you have never been to a con and like the idea of being surrounded by lots of folk being unabashedly enthusiastic about the stories/fictional worlds they love, I definitely recommend it. And as a writer it was an inspiring and energising reminder of the power of story.


5 responses to “The Power of Story”

  1. Susan Mann Avatar

    Way to go. I can imagine it’s always a relief when you finish. Great book choices xx

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Thank you, Susan! xx

  2. Carl Markham Avatar
    Carl Markham

    Well done (again!) Sarah – and ‘fingers crossed’ once more I guess! I wonder why we can’t just ‘roll them off the conveyor belt’ like old Barbara Cartland used to do? Mind you, I think I’d look a bit silly all dressed in pink (and the ‘production line’ type of writing sort of takes all the ‘challenge’ element out of the craft.
    Instead of starting at the begining, have you ever tried starting at the end and working backwards? I did this as an experiment after reading somewhere that John Galsworthy did this with ‘End of the Chapter’ – and if you read that last line this certainly gives it some credibility.(Pause whilst Sarah frantically rummages around her book stacks for the elusive novel!) I’ve got a battered old First Edition which contains a copy of his that last page – complete with all his scribbles and hurried insertions etc like we all do when we’re struggling, and there it is, those immortal words that ‘says it all’ – with all the pathos they imply. Was this his Eurika moment when he decided to work backwards on the complicated plot? No ‘production line ‘ there!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Hi Carl. I haven’t started with the ending before, but I often jump around in the narrative in the first draft, writing scenes out of order. It does sound like a good technique, though! Best wishes, Sarah

      1. Carl Markham Avatar
        Carl Markham

        Hi Sarah! Well that’s just like a film storyboard technique (and sometimes it even happens on the set during production!) I often write sections of narrative on pieces of card and stick them on the wall with blue tack then swop em around after I’ve stepped back and pondered them! Best wishes,, Carl