About Me

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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

Monday, 30 January 2012

Raw Talent vs. Editing

Is that a valid question? Not exactly a question, but you know what I mean. I've been thinking about my Nano novel, and Nano in general, and I know that the point of the thing is just to write, with the presupposition that you'd edit whatever you came out with afterwards. 
But I'm looking at what I have of this novel and my other Teen Fiction novel which, may I note, I have been working on for years. Comparatively, the older one is a million times better in terms of writing style, pace, voice and wording. I guess it wouldn't take a genius to work that much out, because obviously I have been working on  it for a lot longer than the Nano one. 

My point is due. I have several. I have put literally hundreds of layers of editing and rewriting into the older novel, and goodness knows how much time. I'd like to think I have really grown as a writer since I set out with that project, especially looking at the initial drafts of first chapters and comparing them to what I have now. 
However, I'm looking at what I've come out with for Nano (The Poison Maiden), and it makes me blush because it doesn't look good at all. I will, of course, add the word 'Yet' to the end of that sentence. 

But that's my point. Does it make one a bad writer if it's only in the editing that the writing becomes good?

The Netbook I have my eye on...

I've been thinking a lot about this, and while in my most pessimistic of states, I have thought that the amount of editing I have needed proves that to be the case. But I'm picking myself up on it, because actually, I don't quite believe that. While there are some writers out there with raw talent, who can whip something great up in a matter of minutes, I don't think even they would consider their work finished without at least a little tweaking. 
And I think it's all a matter of how you work; I used to take a lot of time over my first drafts, labouring over how each sentence sounded. I began to realise, though, that I was not getting very far this way. And actually, I enjoy the process of editing, going back to a piece of writing and reworking the words. 
So just because this Nano way of writing is entirely new to me, doesn't make it a bad thing. I think that if I keep on with it, resisting editing and getting the story and the world down, yes I will have a big task to edit through it and put all those layers of fine tooth combing, but actually, isn't that what it's all about? 

Writing isn't easy, well, good writing, that is. Good writing takes time, and lots and lots of revisiting. If I learned anything at Uni, I learned that. 

3. Put time into my work.

What do you think?

Monday, 16 January 2012

NaNo Write-up

I suppose it's not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year. Resolutions, lists of things to get done, everything gets a new start, a new look. So naturally, we think about our writing goals, and what we can realistically get done in a year. Trouble is, I don't know what's realistic any more. My first goal for this year: write a list of goals for this year. When I have the time, of course. 

I seem to be treating time as an enemy, which it feels like most of the time. I go back to the age old question of whether I am using my time wisely enough. So there you go: 

          1. Use time more wisely.

Since I haven't actually written since NanoWriMo, I should fill you in on how it went. It won't take a genius to work out I didn't get 50,000 words. The goal for me was never necessarily to hit the word count in a month, because I was almost certain I couldn't do it (probably my first mistake - telling myself that). What I wanted to get out of it was the initial push to get that first few thousand words down on paper and to get a story flowing. I wanted to get myself into the habit of writing every day, even if just a few lines, and hoped that it might stick. I wanted to get down these ideas that have been with me for a very long time, but I never had the skills to articulate them. I wanted to take on a new genre and have a bash at creating an entire world. 

What actually happened, you ask. Well, I certainly got that initial push, and I ended with roughly 12,000 words, which no matter what it looks like in the grand scheme of things, I am proud of. Although, reading Peter Brett's blog, he has just cut about that much from his novel-in-progress, which gave me a disheartening perspective. You see, the problem is that I tried after November to continue the pace; but then Christmas hit. Only having 5 days off and hosting Christmas for the parents didn't leave me that much time. 
I have barely touched it since then.

I certainly got down my ideas, even if only in crudely formed sentences and somewhat lacking descriptive details, but that was the point, just to flipping well write. So many ideas and potlines have opened up in my head while I've been writing. It's that pressure of knowing you have to write what comes next, not whatever scene comes into my head as I have been known to do. Actually, the ideas came a lot more easily. I found it fascinating to see how far my characters had come, and how much had actually happened in the wordspace. One of my greatest weaknesses in writing has always been writing so much without saying anything. Words and words and words but very little story. When asked 'what's it about', I find myself speaking about the underlying messages and what the characters are like, not about what happens. 

Creating a world was fun, but exhausting. There are still so many details which need researching. I know the beauty of a fantasy world is that nobody can check accuracy, but actually most fantasy worlds have elements of truth to them. For example, the system of rule and the monarchy, government or leadership doesn't necessarily have to be based on or reflecting anything we know of. But my point is, I know so little about that sort of thing that I would like to research it, just to see the patterns, or similarities in various systems in order to work out a new one. 

At the moment, consistency is very overstretched. I realised when reading through my novel, that chapters 1-4 all supposedly happened in one single day. If anything, I felt that was a waste of plot, shoving it all into one day. You see I seem to have gone the opposite way and made too much happen too soon. 

So, already I am beginning to see things which need improving. However, I am simply noting them down and  plan to continue along the same path as I did with Nano. 

         2. Finish Draft 1 of The Poison Maiden.

I shan't try and conjure up goals in a single post, but will keep them coming over the next few weeks. That's as good a place to start as any, right? 

Speak again soon.