Bad Time for a “Leaf by Niggle” Moment!
Posted by Will
I am trying, really I am, trying like anything to finish my novel. I’ve set my foot down that The Plane of Dreams comes out on Labor Day and I want to stick with it. But I keep having what I call “Leaf by Niggle” moments- a clumsy phrase for an astounding phenomenon I bet you have experienced too. I ask you, what can you do?
If you’ve read the classic short story by J.R.R. Tolkein, you can skip this paragraph. If you haven’t, believe me, nothing I say here is as good as that story. I had it, gave the book away, searched until I found it again, gave it away AGAIN, etc. Finally found it up in Montreal back in May and this time I intend to hang onto my copy. Get your own. It is (mostly) an everyday, modern-day story about a small farmer named Niggle who has no huge ambitions, but would like to paint. A little. Through all the interruptions of his “real” life, he perseveres, and he sets a modest goal- just paint a single leaf. But of course, he finds he can’t really get the leaf right until he’s done the twig it’s on- and then the branch and the leaves behind it. Soon he has a stitched-together canvas that covers the inside of his barn and shows an entire landscape, mountains, forest, the whole nine yards. Then things get interesting…
Got the idea? So, my stories are all EXACTLY like that. I have about 10,000 words to go. Back in July I had… about 10,000 words to go. I’ve written 20,000 words since then, but it’s mostly stuff that isn’t in the novel! This is not work avoidance, it’s just… what I have to do next. And it’s going to kill me.
Right this moment, I’m watching my bard, Salinj’r tell his party the tale of the curse that he believes hangs over this abandoned castle they’re in. I know the story- but you can’t have the bard start with “once there was a famous keep” and go on for pages. The adventurers NEVER let the bard do that. He’s being heckled all throughout, told to get to the point, interrupted with questions, and so on. So I’ve gone and put down the first tale (the clock for Labor Day going tick-tick-tick in the back of my mind) and now I’m going to have to write out the second one (tick-tick). THEN maybe I can get back to the actual story.
It’s the wonder of chronicling another world. The thing about the Lands of Hope, as I’ve said before, is that it’s absolutely REAL. As real as Niggle’s painting (go and read the story, you won’t believe how real it is). It calls, which is why I write, and it demands, which is why I can’t write what I want.
That number has shrunk a little: I’m actually at an estimated 8,100 words to go. But I usually underestimate! And that’s tight in less than a month for someone who’s not named Robert B. Parker (RIP), who can’t lock the door to his office (don’t have a door!), and settle in and whack away until 2,000 words are done. A paying job, just to name one thing…
I still think I can make it. After all, this is the Lands of Hope.
Just this one more thing first… hey, what can you do?
About WillI'm the chronicler of the Lands of Hope tales, available at all the major online retailers.
Posted on August 13, 2012, in about writing, Age - Adult, Authors - Will Hahn, Genre - Fantasy Stories, or browse all books and tagged Lands of Hope, magic, Tolkein, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.