Three quarters.

I’m writing a novel at the moment, a story idea I’ve been mulling over for ages. While it isn’t my best or even favorite idea, it’s very different from my previous completed novel. I think at this point in my writing career (if a career it even is), I need try out a wide variety of styles and story ideas and viewpoints.

I’m sure I’ll talk a lot more about these novels (or novellas depending on your definition) in the future.

To the point of this post: I’m about three quarters of the way through novel number two. While I know exactly where I need to take things, I seem to be having trouble pushing through to the end. I keep finding distractions (like this blog, you see), and when I do write, I can’t seem to find inspiration. My first novel had a non-linear structure, so I didn’t have to fill in the gaps. Now I’m having to ramp up the energy and get myself into the explosive and twist-filled final act, but my characters are pottering about, killing time, discussing stuff instead of actually getting on with it.

Then today I remembered part of a pep talk by Niel Gaiman, and looked it up. Sure enough:

The last novel I wrote … when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

“You don’t remember?”

“Not really.”

“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.

This makes me feel better about the entire project. A bit. It doesn’t change the fact I’ve only written 23 words today.

Table tennis!

The living room as viewed from the juggling studio.

The living room as viewed from the juggling studio.

Pola drove the van back from Aachen on Saturday, which contained everything we had taken to Portugal for 6 weeks, plus Pola’s accumulated art projects from the trip. Today we finally got around to clearing it all away.

At the same time we rearranged furniture. This included creating a large table in the living room for Pola to work on large projects, for larger dinner and breakfast gatherings with friends (a weekly ocurence when we are in Berlin) and… ping pong!

Whenever we work on cruise ships together we play a lot of table tennis, normally 30 minutes every evening. This is what led me to developing my table tennis routine. With the table in this position we’ll probably play ever day at home. We’ve already tried it, and while the table is on the small side, it’s just as much fun.