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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Editing Struggle

I managed to get quite a lot done yesterday. I'm being ruthless.
I don't know if I'm being too ruthless. I've chopped another scene (in my novel) and rewritten it in about a quarter of the space. I'm trying to make the beginning sharper and more interesting. I think there's too much of the mundane. The scene I've rewritten is one where they are basically sat around playing playstation and drinking tea, which is all fine and good, as I had managed to slide in some important conversations and exposition. But it just felt really flat and boring. I couldn't help but think there must be a better way to get this information across.

I've replaced about 1000 words of blah blah blah with the simple line 'They spent the afternoon taking turns to challenge Joe at racing on the playstation; he remained unbeaten.'
Well, ok that's not all of it, but it's something like 300 words now, and still gets across the same points. There's actually more description of Lauren's mother in there, and it sets up Toby, Lauren's brother's arrival far better. He has been away for 6 or so months, so Ryan (the protagonist) has not met him yet.

I think this goes to prove a point I read in Writer's Forum a few months back - sometimes the rule 'show, don't tell' doesn't apply. There are times when you just need to move the story along by telling the reader what happened. Otherwise, I find I end up pointlessly describing really ordinary, unhelpful things that just don't really add any kind of pace.

I've noticed, also, that I've broken my own rule, my own pet hate. For the first four pages, maybe more, there is no dialogue. It's all Ryan's inner monologue. I don't really know how to get past that. I'm thinking maybe I should start someplace else. But then that changes the whole structure of everything.

It feels like I'm going at a half-done painting with a large brush and black acrylic paint. It's already taken me years to get the damn story to this point, and yet here I am tearing it completely apart again. I guess it's called refining, prooning. But it's tough. It's one step forwards and 29 back. Remind me why I'm doing this??

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