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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tools of the Trade

Basic Equipment, you don't need anything else. A simple ballpoint pen and a pencil, and of course something to write on.  The page, plain, squared, ruled narrow, ruled wide, feint, take your pick, and I still find the hardest part is where I look at the blank page and suddenly the inside of my head feels the same, a blank expanse of white. Nothing there, not even the faintest glimmer, or the merest scratch on the surface. I love it, that moment when I make the first mark, and then its gone, the pristine surface is marked, and there is no going back, to remove every trace of that mark would be impossible, but why would I want to, the first mark is the step that starts the journey. It may be hesitant at first and get stronger later as the road ahead becomes clearer and the characters start to develop and prompt there own actions and reactions. I have to admit, I hate planning novels, all the time I spend planning, well, have spent in the days when I thought you had to plan everything I couldn't wait, I wanted to tell the story and finding out that a number of successful novelists had the same feelings was reassuring, now I just leap into telling the story and then work out the finer details when the first draft is finished, but I also like a first draft to be readable enough for anyone to pick it up and see what's there. It has to make some sort of sense.
There is no turning back, always forward, without reverse. Changing direction is optional, and when the story starts to bog down it becomes almost mandatory.
Doodle mentally and see where the story takes you, that's what I'm about to do, no choice really. the latest story is a bit stuck in the woods somewhere, and maybe I can't see the wood for the trees, and that brings us back to basic equipment, a ballpoint pen and a pencil, graphite wrapped in cedar wood. I have my favourite, Staedler, the yellow and black ones. I like them nice and sharp too, leaving a nice crisp line on the paper. Beautiful.

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