Sunday, 24 May 2009

Writing Wail

Good news: I'm making progress with the novel.

Slightly less good news: it's sooooooooooooo hard!

I'm playing with structure, the idea being to strengthen the plot. I can see that in some places it's really working well. Trouble is, in other places I've got holes the size of moon craters. Moving scenes around can have terrific results in some respects, but it also leads to major problems such as a character starting their new job before they've had the interview. It's like doing a Rubik cube in four dimensions, and I can't even do them in three.

Also, one of the things I worked really hard on in the last draft was differentiating characters' speech patterns. This is something I find very difficult - in the first draft every character talked like me. I'd got it almost nailed in the last draft, but now that I'm writing new scenes and changing POV in existing scenes, my characters are reverting to some extent. I guess I can sort it out when I edit, but if anyone has any tips or advice on how to manage this, I'd be really glad to hear them.

I need to reach the point where I can hold the whole thing in my head. I'm not there yet. I'm approaching the halfway mark, and I can't even hold that much in my head. I printed it out last night and read it on paper today, which brought me closer to that point. I was pleased with some parts, although I'm still not at all sure I'm heading in the right direction.

One thing I do know from previous drafts is that I need to keep going, even if it does feel like walking through treacle in a fog while wearing ill-fitting wellies. So keeping going is what I have been doing. And I will be again tomorrow, because now I'm going to cook a sumptuous dinner for my Paramour and one of our dearest friends. I foresee wine and chat to go with it, which will be a blessed relief from all this flipping writing!


JJ Beattie said...

Well, I haven't done it yet with my novel, but having done it with smaller things, like dissertations, I think the chaos is inevitable.

The minute you start reordering you have to accept (but ignore) the mess until you reach the end. And then you can start ordering all over again.

I'm sure it's monstrous but you have to push on... Good luck.

HelenMHunt said...

I haven't got to that bit either but I'm strangely looking forward to it!

Carol and Chris said...

I am not a writer so don't have any writerly advice for you....all I will say is keep going....I'm sure you will get there and I'm sure it will be fab!!!

C x

PI said...

It must be so much harder writing a novel than writing from memory.
I remember being impressed by a writer who had a great big blackboard with characters and their backgrounds and doings - a bit like the police do on TV.
As for speech it can help to use different colours for each character. We would do it when reading aloud to remind us which voice to use. Maybe you can adapt the idea some how - at least in your notes.

Debs said...

It really can be like wading through treacle, can't it?

Your evening sounds fun though, have a great time.

Queenie said...

JJ, sadly, I think you're right.
Helen, I know I'm whingeing, but I think it's more interesting than doing a first draft.
Carol, thanks for your touching faith in me!
PI, that colour idea is a good one, thank you. The weird thing is, as soon as I read your comment I knew what colour each of my four main characters was!
Debs, it sounds as if you know what I'm talking about. And thanks - I did!

Lane said...

Holding the whole thing in your head is soo difficult. My head's too small:-)
Keep going Queenie!

Queenie said...

Lane, I think mine is too. Just as well, because if it was big enough it would be the size of a spaceship. I will keep going... I will keep going...

Karen said...

Keeping going is definitely the main thing, and maybe as you do the naturalness (is that a word?) will come flowing back :o) Keep going, you can do it!!

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Oh, you describe it so well. The mess that's created when we start rearranging things, and the impossibility of keeping the whole thing in your head at one time. I've done it several times now and always find it disorientating. I particularly like this: "walking through treacle in a fog while wearing ill-fitting wellies."