Frustrations abound

21 February 2011

So, I’ve been staring at my outline (third version) and I feel like there are problems, but it’s tricky to spot them. Today’s biggest issue is one I’ve often struggled with, which is hard to summarize neatly. Basically, I aspire to write a novel that’s full of things academics and critics might want to discuss, you know, Big Ideas. So for ‘Heather’ I’m thinking about how to illustrate her narcissism, and how that effects the other people in her life. But I get bogged down thinking about things like, well if she’s a narcissist then shouldn’t her bits in the book be told in first person? Even though the other bits will be in third? And I really want to demonstrate how I think that we’re all becoming more narcissistic in our habits (with all out exciting shiny devices that keep us constantly plugged into one another), but writing a book where the characters all just tap away at their screens doesn’t appeal. And then there’s the whole hiring a stalker thing. I’ve decided it’s not a sexual thing, but then, what is it? Is it even necessary? Does she need to hire a stalker, is that the best way of demonstrating how narcissistic she is? It seems pretty good to me, but I’m not sure if where I’m going is the best direction. How can a woman who is quite often in the public eye believe she’s not getting enough attention? And then, conversely, if she’s not in the public eye then I struggle to work out how, exactly and in what ways, I can show that she’s a narcissist.

Of course, all I really want to do is settle these issues so I can write. This beginning bit of novel writing is the most frustrating of all. All there is for it is more thinking, more considering and no writing. If I start writing now, I know from past experience that I can write a novel-length piece of work, but the editing will be treacherous.