Lessons from my week…back up, back up, back up!
Try rewriting a piece of your writing, perhaps just a paragraph or so, using different tense: past, present, future.
Becoming more effective in your writing can require getting rid of redundant words. Sometimes I describe in a flourish of superfluous language, my characters talk in meandering waffle…and it all gets a little too much. Today I’m taking a piece of writing I did in my blog from 17th February 2013 and am cutting it down, to make it more succinct, more effective. This is an experiment really, to see if my writing is improved by paring it back, being more mindful of what I include and what I remove.
A few things have happened since I last blogged: 1) I finished my Masters degree (yay me!), and 2) I arranged my novel into chapters! Both occurrences have significant consequences.
This process of writing a novel is a totally fascinating experience: watching the ebb and flow of my creativity and motivation, working out what time of day I am most productive, learning how to be flexible with my routine, realising the importance of keeping some way of recording flashes of inspiration with me at all times, spending more time with my characters than my friends (or at least it feels that way!) and having it dawn on me that a novel contains a hell of a lot of words…and I have to write them all!
How do people make friends? School, work and hobbies often form the basis of meeting people – places where you meet regularly or have a shared interest. Small children are much better at making friends than adults, I mean, walking up to someone in the supermarket and saying “Will you be my friend” like a child in the playground, just isn’t appropriate! It can even be difficult within clubs, like sports groups, to form friendships that stretch beyond the group itself.
Try creating mood through descriptions that have a dual purpose. Does the description create a setting, a mood, an atmosphere? Write your description and consider how it will prompt action, and what sort of action the description suggests. Then write the description and the action will naturally follow.
Coming back to basics, like character descriptions, can prompt new writing. Today I am using brief character descriptions to prompt writing for my novel. This is useful in times when you have a writing lull…never panic, just go back to a writing exercise to keep writing and keep thinking about your story. This will breathe life, not only into the plot, but into you, the author. In this way, writing exercises can keep you fresh and keep your writing flowing, even on those days when the writing of your actual novel has slowed.
Throughout history, fear and superstition have ravaged the hearts and minds of peoples of Europe. Witches, werewolves and vampires were blamed for all manner of atrocities and trivialities. Tied to religious fervor, anti-Semitic sentiment and social control, an estimated 110,000 witch trials took place across Europe; 48% of these ending in execution. (Brian Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 1995.) Today, our fascination with witches, werewolves and vampires is seen in popular literature and film.
My writing at the moment is slow…no lightening pace for me, no blistering pace with fingers scorched from the heat of frantic typing. My writing proceeds at a slow, secreting, oozing pace. It is frustrating, but every word counts.
Actually, this is not quite true, I am writing quite a bit: poems, appraisals, reviews, essays …just not much on my novel!