If you are a writer, you have probably at some stage of heard of something referred to as ‘the iceberg principle’. It’s pretty simple really. The premise is based on the idea that 90% of the iceberg lies invisible, under the water, with only 10% visible above the surface. This is a metaphor for what you know about your story, world and characters, vs what actually makes it onto the page for your reader to see.
Just by way of example, here’s a sentence from one of my WIPs:
If she had been at home, she most likely would have been abed with a hot brick and one of her housekeeper’s restorative tisanes.
That might have taken you all of two seconds to read. And it probably took me a couple of minutes to craft the actual words that went into it. But that sentence also represents at least 45 minutes worth of internet research on:
Which is basically just my way of reassuring myself that it’s OK to have only produced 200 words after getting up at 5.30 am and writing for 1.5 hours before the family gets up and we all have to get ready for work/school/etc. And also goes some way to illustrating why it takes so damn long to write a bloody novel.
And now I have had that stupid Lily the Pink song stuck in my head all day. Yeah. You’re welcome.
Writing. It looks so much easier than it is.
I’ve spent most of the last week and a half doing more brainstorming and dreaming. I’m still sitting at that point of frustration, where I can see the shape of the story, I can feel it, taste it, even. But when I try and pin it down in words, it just dissolves like mist through my fingers.
I’ve definitely made progress, though, even if I can only describe it as creeping.
Here, have some more of my visual prompts from Pinterest. Which is kind of what this WIP looks like in my head. Intriguing, definite feel to it, some good characters. But a concrete plot? Pff.
This week has been a bit of an exercise in frustration, and a reminder that writing is not all about just getting words on the page. Sometimes it’s about sitting there, staring into space, maybe for hours, with the same song on repeat. Or going for a long drive, or a run, or sitting on the bus with that song on repeat. Or delving back into your research to try and pad out some ideas, or generate new ones. All the while, with that one song on repeat.
It doesn’t feel very productive, but this is also the kind of thing I rarely get time to do in the normal course of things.
So, in the interests of at least presenting an appearance of productivity, here are a few snippets of visual inspiration I found while trawling through Pinterest.
A bit of musical inspo to keep me going today.