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I flopped down on the bed on Friday afternoon to finish reading a book and suddenly my right leg twisted, I heard a snap or bang, the knee went into a spasm and I felt a sharp pain. The knee locked and I ended up ringing a medical friend who came round to look at it a couple of hours later.  I can walk on it, but the joint feels sore. My GP’s given me codeine, but I don’t think I want to take this.

So out of action again for a while.

I got a new laptop at the weekend and went home, eager to get everything running well. I’ve always considered myself a bit of an expert with PC troubleshooting, but nothing could have prepared me for the new Windows interface. I found it completely baffling in every way.

Worse, I couldn’t get Office installed because of no internet connection and I had to use my Android Tablet as a tethering point the following day to activate Office and activate the current version of Windows.

I also installed Total Security 360 and did a full hour and ten minute scan yesterday.

The problems began shortly after that. The security programs went into wild mode.  They would let me connect to MSN, but kept denying access to all browser activity, including WiFi.

Eventually, I switched off the PC in a rage and tried again.  Same problem, although I could access one of the Wifi pages at least. This morning, I tried again from a café, and then again from a library.

I am now connected.

The writer’s job seems never ending.  There is always room for improvement, a reason for cutting a particular section that adds nothing to a story, an opportunity for taking a scene further.

I’ve recently completed another draft of my novel. I took editorial advice and implemented most of the changes suggested, then went through the manuscript to tie up the loose ends, and I have to admit that ruthless editing has its own problems.  The story improves, but sometimes leftovers from previous drafts clash with the new structure, creating a sense of cut and paste.  The new edit then requires another edit to polish the story, and then probably another to catch it from a fresh angle.  And then an agent or editor in a publishing house might suggest another edit or two.

Goes on and on.

Brief Summer Break

Not around for a little while.  Back soon.

Busy polishing my current novel in progress.

The story falls in the crime/thriller genre and therefore needs genuine excitement and fear. I find these hard to convey at times. For instance, should a writer pull out all the stops and make the section in question as thrilling as possible?  Or does less work better, leaving the reader to visualise the rest in their mind?

Possibly less.

The following is an excerpt from my novel, pretty early on in the story.

 ‘Sure.’ I give Mel a mock salute and leave, taking the lift down to the ground floor. When I step into the entrance hall, the same creepy silence from earlier greets me, interrupted only by the steady tap of drizzle on the glass dome in the ceiling. I’m standing in darkness. All the lights have gone out. I try one of the switches on the wall. Nothing happens. Odd. For a second or two, I think I hear footsteps on one of the balconies.

‘Hello?’ I call up in the darkness.

Silence.

The evening has turned chilly with the scent of damp fields and manure lingering in the air. The surrounding hills appear small in the fading daylight and tiny lights come from distant houses. I cross the grass plain. Stop.

Footsteps behind me.

I swing round. ‘Hello?’

No one there. Just a branch blowing in the wind.

I continue.

Stop again.

Look round.

Resume my walk.

Stop.

Glance back.

No one.

Still busy ploughing through my novel, cutting redundant scenes that have no purpose at all in the story and upping the psychological immediacy throughout.

Psychological immediacy requires careful control. As creative writing instructors like to say, less is best. A few simple sentences that evoke powerful images in the reader’s mind without the writer having to do much work. Trying too hard destroys psychological immediacy. Sentences that create psychological immediacy should come naturally.

I’ve also cut a viewpoint character. The character in question appears in a couple of scenes, but those scenes don’t add to the story, just slow the pace. Plus, other, more dramatic scenes, bring out the same aspects of the story.

I’m 47, 000 words in the novel, about halfway through. The novel falls into the crme genre, with an emphasis on psychological thriller. The second half has a lot of challenges and I still haven’t decided exactly how to proceed with the progression of events, so I’m reading through the first half and making notes.

Difficult, but rewarding.

 

Editor Report

I haven’t written much here lately. Busy elsewhere. I’ve been working on the first one hundred pages of my novel and following the Editor’s Report.

One issue that came up in the Report focused on allowing scenes to reach their natural development rather than trying to force the drama. This often happens when the author has plans for a major character, plans which the character wouldn’t usually follow. A bit like the debate in Theology: Free Will versus Predestination – i.e. who’s in the charge here: the writer or the character in question?

I’ve also dealt with some redundant sections. You know the sort, writing that neither helps nor hinders the novel. The story wouldn’t suffer if those sections were to go.

The central part of the novel needs the most work in terms of pacing and plot – so I’m bracing myself.

 

 

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