Wednesday, 16 March 2016

writing: What I'm writing just now

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll probably know that at the moment I #amediting.

I wrote a first draft of a story that had been tickling away at me for a while back in November for National Novel Writing Month. It's a modern retelling of a traditional Scottish fairy tale which has fascinated me since I came across it. I'm going to call it the Rose book.

Once I'd tidied up that first draft I put it away for a while. 

I was intending on working on another book. A high fantasy tale which is really rather huge, and which I'd finished the first draft of a while ago, but had then realised it had a massive problem, requiring lots of changes (more on that here). I'm going to call that the Chaptershill book.

I started rethinking things for the Chaptershill book over Christmas and realised that changing little things about the way the society ran had some small impacts, which, like the butterfly effect, ended up having drastic impacts on the plot, and indeed on the characters.

I think that this is all good, but I need to let the ideas fester for a while before I can sort them out.

The Rose book on the other hand was ready to go. I mean, lets face it, with a retelling the characters are already drafted, the story is there, it's just a matter of making it real for now, with your version of the characters. Easy right?

I don't think I much like editing. I am so pernickity, I find myself changing words here and there all over the place. It also makes me feel like I'm stupid, realising that I've told the reader something several times, or that a character is oblivious to something they should know (or knows something they shouldn't). I think you need a longer attention span for editing than writing, and I find it terribly taxing! Still, Ernest Hemingway said "The first draft of anything is shit." So at least it's improving.

I am also getting through it. About two thirds of the way through so far.

Meanwhile I'm doing a bit of research into where I might send it once it's been edited (and that's scary because you don't want to aim too low or waste your effort on aiming too high!).

I am also writing, because writing is what I do. Neil Gaiman says that to be a writer you have to write, and I kind of see it like kindness or exercise. A little bit every day will help when you need to give a lot.

So I've written a short story for my local writers group (I can't share anything else about it because it's being judged right now). That was hard. I don't feel happy in a short story. I want to flesh things out, or deflesh things, or something. I want more.

I've also been writing poetry. Poetry helps me to consider words more, the rhythm, the cadence, the structure. I like writing poetry. I feel like I can get a lot more into a short poem than a short story; there can be more meaning wrapped in symbols. I do find it interesting though, that other people don't have my mind, and can't read my symbols, or read them through their own lenses. It brings new meaning, which is fascinating.

I've been enjoying writing poems inspired by The Prompt over at Mum Turned Mom. Most recently I was practicing writing a sonnet, using the theme of 'confusion'. You can find that here. I've also been taking inspiration from music, using the rhythm of one song and the theme of another to try something new for a magickal poem which needs a bit more work.

And of course, I'm writing here. I keep wondering if I should change the name of this blog, but it is what it is, and I thank you for joining me here. This post is my first post joining up with the What I'm Writing linky over at Writing Bubble (now there's a good name), so I thought I'd do an update to get started. It's been fun to write, and tracking my progess seems a good way to avoid doing too much cleaning and the like and stay focused on the writing. So thanks to Maddy for setting it up. I intend to be back again.

Writing Bubble