Saturday, December 11, 2004

"You can't park here. Look, I don't make the rules, mate."

Dave McKean phoned me up today. I got unexpectedly testy when he commented on a couple of scenes in Mirrormask that were just two people talking, and on the problem of getting those scenes to have some kind of narrative drive. The reason I got testy was, as I eventually explained to him, because I've spent a day fighting with an uncooperative novel and every scene I wrote kept turning into two people having a conversation, and it was driving me nuts. It wasn't even that they were sitting around having interesting conversations. They were telling each other things the reader had already seen occur, and I felt powerless to stop them...

"You're not allowed to do that any more," said Dave. "Something else has to happen."

So I abandoned the incredibly dull scene I was slogging my way through in the Chinese restaurant and wrote a scene from later in the book, that seemed like it might be an interesting thing to write, set in the Hell of Birds. And because that scene meant that some things had to happen before that happened, I wrote the scene that it implied too. And the book's now behaving, more or less.


Only What Happens in the last part of the book is all different now. It feels more like What Happens than what I thought happened in the last half of the book when I started writing this (or, er, this morning). But...


On the good side, over two thousand words written so far today. On the not-so-good-side, many of them will be thrown away, and lots of the other ones fit into a plot I'm not sure I entirely currently understand.

Every now and again people write me kind letters letting me know just how much they'd like my job. On a day like today, I'd happily take their job. Even if it involves heavy lifting, standing around in the cold, or telling people they can't park there. Honest.