The day I realised I was average

I remember watching a David Attenborough documentary. There was a scene where a gazelle was running away from a cheetah.

I remember watching with bated breath thinking, ‘for sure the cheetah will catch the gazelle. She is the fastest animal on earth.’

But as the gazelle ran round in circles and zigzagged left and right, the cheetah slowly became tired.

And a thought popped up in my head.

Strong animals have weaknesses and weak animals have strength.

The cheetah’s strength was its speed, and it’s weakness was turning corners.

The gazelle’s weakness was that it couldn’t run as fast as the cheetah, but it could turn sharp corners with incredible speed.

I watched in awe as the cheetah slowly became tired, and turn by turn, the gazelle made its way to safety.

So I began to tell myself.

If strong animals have weaknesses and weak animals have strength, then go find yours.

Writing the second draft ~ doubts and indecision

I’ve begun writing the second draft of my novel and I am plagued with doubts and indecision.

Most of the time it feels like there’s a gremlin sitting on my shoulder critiquing everything I write.

The main reason why I find this story particularly difficult, is because I haven’t figured out the right tone of voice.

Shall I make it sound realistic, with a touch of magical realism, or should I go all out and make it fantasy?

Who am I writing it for? Children? teens? or adults?

Thinking like this gets me nowhere and I end up going round and round in circles for hours with nothing to show.

I think the reason why I’m so critical of my writing is because I’m afraid to address the root of the issue: What if nobody likes my story? What if nobody reads it?

And so I try to write to please an imaginary audience.

Obviously, it’s not working.

Going back to the humble origins of the story

This story began as an ending. I wrote the last few paragraphs first, spontaneously while in bed, and forgot about it for a few months.

It wasn’t until lockdown that I took it out and reread it. What struck me about it, was its simplicity; a few paragraphs that said a lot. That was the tone I wanted to capture.

Now that I think about it, what I didn’t like about the first draft was how dramatic it had become; overly exaggerated storylines, unnecessary characters, like I was trying too hard. It lost its tone of simplicity and didn’t have the same sparkling effect it first had.

So I think I will work backwards. Start from the point of certainty, and branch out from there.