The Hell Butterfly

A Change of Scenery

I’ve been thinking lately that trying to write my book in the same room that I eat, sleep and study in is potentially killing my creativity. To an extent this may be true. Because though for the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to focus on creative writing more than normal, I’m also finding that I can get creative to a point, and then it stabalises.

I’m a horrible person. I’m awfully mean to my characters, partly by accident and partly deliberately. This is one reason I felt like perhaps a change of scenery would help my writing. Being cooped up in the same room that I spend most of my time in might be limiting my ability to think ‘outside of the box’ so to speak. I needed to show the characters painful descent more gradually, so I added new chapters that showed their slower decline, detailing individual moments of torment that would, by the novel’s climaxing plotline, build up more effectively so that the events that take place might seem more realistic, rather than ‘okay to kinda bad to what-the-heck-happened-here?’. For example, I made Jess get bullied in a way that Scott could see, to make him get closer to her. But in publicly humiliating her, and making Scott care for her more, I accidentally gave him an anxiety disorder. No, I don’t now how that happened either. It just sort of … did.

 

Today I got a chance to test out my theory that a change of scenery might help. My landlord sent a man around this afternoon to clean the mould (ew) from the top of my ridiculously high bedroom wall. His exact words were: “I’m here to clean the mould? I can get it done in about ten minutes but you’ll have to stay out for half an hour because of the toxic fumes”. Toxic fumes? You’re spraying something toxic in my bedroom? While this alone was enough to make me worry for my health, I obliged and took my laptop downstairs. What better opportunity to change scenery than this? (Note: I returned two hours after he said it would be safe and ten minutes in my room gave me a migraine and made me want to vomit. And I have to sleep in there tonight. Great.)

It failed. Although everybody has been out and the room was quiet – how I prefer it to be when I write – I couldn’t think properly. Maybe I was too preoccupied with the thought that somebody might come in, ask me what I was doing and I’d have nothing to say to them because, in truth, I don’t know what I’m doing. I did manage to come up with a plan for the re-write to the worst chapter I have ever written and I managed to also organise the timeline for the initial events of the novel that kick-start the main plot. So I suppose that’s something at least. But my main intention failed. I thought that being in a different room would freshen my mind and allow me to think a little differently. Unfortunately, it seems not.

This makes me worry for the sake of my book. Maybe not for my entire ability to be creative. Maybe.

I hope I can get out of this rut – I was on a good run for a while there. Four new chapters, a new mature writing style that fits the tone of the book a lot better. One or two of these chapters I’m really quite proud of. But I’ve hit another hitch with this latest creative road-bump. Last time I had one of these I didn’t work on the book for nearly three years. I don’t think I can go another stint like that. Maybe I should try changing environment completely. And medium. Maybe going outside, next to the sea with pen and paper will do me some good. Next time the weather isn’t wet and bitterly cold, maybe I’ll try this. Maybe.

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