“Can I, Can’t I?”

Elaine Roberts discusses her new venture.

So February’s here and my daffodils are rising high in my garden.Where did January go?
Sinceimages_2 Christmas, my nose has been buried in my new project, and I do mean buried, hours upon hours of research, taking copious amounts of notes and bookmarking. Thankfully, we have it easier these days than the writers of yesteryear. What I can find in an hour on the Internet would have taken days and several reference books, I’m sure. I’m beginning to think there’s nothing you can’t find on there, why didn’t we have that when I was at school? Homework would have been so much easier.

ThinkerHaving said that, my decision-making lets me down, my problem is I keep changing my mind about where my characters are going to live and what they are going to be called.

I’ve been looking at old maps to see what roads existed at the time I’m writing about images(have you noticed I’m not saying the time it’s set in, it’s a secret, even to me!) How long will it take them to get from A to B. Then there are character names. A name can tell you a lot about a character and their family history. For example, if a lady is called Fleur, then she is likely to be French or, at least have a French connection. I’ve read lists and lists of names, not just trying to find some that I like, but also trying to find ones that my readers won’t say “What!” to. At this point, more out of frustration than reality, I think maybe I have too many characters. Perhaps I could drop some, but no, I’ve planned eleven of my twenty chapters and all my characters are accounted for. So they stay and that’s final. Back to the name searching then.

I have given myself a deadline of getting ten chapters completed by the end of August, so the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme can critique it. I’ve never handed in an incomplete novel before but I’m wandering into uncharted waters. Well, they are uncharted for me anyway. The big question is can I write it, the answer is I don’t know, but I’m definitely going to try. There was a time over last weekend when I did get myself in a tizz over my abilities to write it, so against all my own rules, I started writing the opening scene. Only five hundred and ninety words but psychologically they were probably the most important words I have ever written, mainly because I was chuffed with the result. It’s only the first draft but my confidence has been lifted. I’m actually beginning to think I can do it and, when I do, you’ll all hear my screaming from the rooftops.

PlanningYou know, when I used to just read books, I never realised how much work and planning went into them.

Let us know what your scariest ‘can I, can’t I’ moment was, whether it’s applying for a job or trying something new.

Share it so I know I’m not on my own, please…

Twitter: RobertsElaine11

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10 thoughts on ““Can I, Can’t I?”

  1. I can definitely relate to the ‘name’ problem, Elaine. I wrote about it on my own blog a couple of weeks ago. You may well find as you get further into your book (as I did) that your characters choose their own names. You thought it was up to you? Nah!
    Good luck with the new project

    • This is a belated reading and I wonder where you are now. Have ‘they’ decided where they live? Have they named themselves? Have you got so far you can’t remember a state of indecision. Good luck with the project, Moya

      • Hello Moya, thank you for asking how I’m getting on and the good luck with my latest venture. I am in the middle of my third chapter. The family surname is Gettin and they live in Victorian West London. I am still in a state of indecision about some things. My name character was called Edith but the general consensus of opinion is the name is too hard so I’m throwing other suggestions around. I don’t know whether I make writing hard work or whether it actually is hard work but I should get points for persistence if nothing else. I’m determined to get there though.
        Elaine.

  2. Self belief is one of the most important elements of any aspiration. I enjoyed reading this, Elaine. I always admire your honesty and tenacity and your endless capacity for hard work.The very best of luck with your new book. I have taken myself back to the world of education for my latest project.
    However, the protagonist, I can’t call him a hero, as he is essentially non heroic, is purely a creature of my imagination. I haven’t actually given him a name yet, so any suggestions for names for anti heroes would be most welcome,

    • Thank you Angela for your kind words. I wish I had just half of your talent for writing. It’s exciting starting a new project, although a little scary at the same time. They say you should write what you know and you certainly know about education. Is your protagonist going to come good in the end? If he does he could still have a semi heroic name. You do have a point though, I’ve never thought about names in relation to heros and anti heros so you’ve given me something to think about there.

    • Hi Linda, thank you but you need to remember those kind words because you are also very talented. I suppose it’s about having faith in yourself. I must admit mine fades in and out but Elaine Everest is always there encouraging me to finish and send out my writing. Writing has taken over any spare time I have so here’s hoping for success in publishing my novel and you finishing yours. Elaine R.

  3. Well my can I can’t I moment I’m still going through with my accounting. As I’m new to it there are certain things I still don’t feel like I’ve grasped yet so sometimes I feel that maybe this isn’t for me. But going through what I’m studying with someone is so much easier as it helps me to learn more than studying alone. I can do it I know I can I think sometimes I just need a push!

    • Hi Jessey, thanks for reading the blog and leaving a comment. I have the same problem with my writing but chatting about things always brings clarity. Sometimes we have to go through a point of confusion first but if we are lucky we have a light bulb moment when it all falls into place. I believe that is the case regardless of the subject matter so hang in there and persevere, you’ll be glad you did. Remember, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.
      Elaine R x

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