Sweet September starts my year as Summer’s blossoms fade away
Long, lazy days come to an end and work replaces holiday.
Autumn is time to start anew, to see the year with eager eyes
To learn, to change, prepare to share the future’s festival of surprise.
October’s when we start to climb to chilly Winter’s highest peak;
Three months of fire and feast and fun give us the energy we seek.
Another year, with new resolve – we pause, then slide down Winter’s slope
Forgetting when the seeds were sown for Spring’s fresh meadowland of hope.
I decided not to enter the competition but post it here, instead.)
Have you ever got to that stage when you are starting a new project but you aren’t sure if it is good enough to continue?
I have a couple of unfinished novels packed away somewhere but this is a different feeling. I think it needs to stew in my imagination for a while until I have enough to start writing. When your work is character driven, as mine is, you need to be really certain about your characters before you put them into a situation. Then they usually behave consistently and the story makes sense. I need to flesh out the personalities and backgrounds of the people in my next book before I concentrate on the plot.
Meanwhile we have a Craft Fair on Sunday where I am taking a few of my most popular novels, “Never Run Away” and “Never Pretend,” as well as the latest two, just in case there are some local readers who would be willing to purchase them. I think there will be a number of second hand books for sale so I don’t hold out much hope.
The more I read the less confidence I have in my own work. For one thing, most books I enjoy are twice as long as the ones I write. What is it, I wonder, that makes it possible to keep a plot going that long? If it is, as I suspect, a deeper understanding of what the characters are thinking and feeling, then I have to introduce that. If it is a broadening of the plot to include more related events, I need to try that. It gives me something to aim at and I’ll let you know if any of it works!
A book I am reading at present uses the multiple first person. Each mini chapter is from a different point of view, but it is specified who at the start.
After writing five books in the third person I tried something similar and, knowing that a book written from a single viewpoint has to be really gripping or the reader starts to wonder about the other characters I also chose to use multiple viewpoints. This book was “A Lesson for the Teacher.”
This means one has to switch from person to person and make certain each individual has a clear and distinct ‘voice,’ attitude, set of opinions, including getting into the head of both male and female characters.
I think the most emotionally satisfying books are written from a single point of view – as long as the reader can identify with the protagonist but I have gone back to writing in the third person in “A Bend in the Lane” as there are too many folk in the story to use any other method.
Thinking it was about time I wrote something about the writing process I asked myself what is it that helps a writer to do their own first edit?
We all try to spot spelling, punctuation and continuity errors before we send our work off but I don’t think everyone reads their written work out loud. I suppose it is easy with poetry but perhaps some folk think reading prose is boring and makes them doubt the worth of what they have written.
When we read in a familiar writing group we often find mistakes and correct them as we go along. Also, we get feed back as to whether the dialogue actually fits the character or the period, but if you do not belong to a group, what do you do? You could record yourself reading or just shut yourself away and try not to feel stupid! You don’t have to be an actor – if no-one else is listening just think of it as an alternative editing method. I believe you’ll find it useful.
Of course, nothing is as helpful as another pair of eyes!
I’m really hard on people who make mistakes in posts on twitter and wordpress and then I go and do the same thing myself. There’s something about writing on a computer rather than on paper that leads to the most stupid errors, especially if one is writing in a hurry, responding in a temper, or just feeling hot and lazy.
Proof reading seems essential when one is producing a manuscript but unnecessary when one is posting on line. We think we have written what we meant to say but the odd typo crops up and we miss it, if we don’t check before we press send.
Sometimes we get the opportunity to edit what we have sent, but not always and sometimes we rely on the computer spellcheck and miss a homophone.
‘Grate and great, week and weak, their and there’ can catch anybody out and I need to leave the schoolteacher in me behind and be a bit more sympathetic. Sorry, folks.
Reading the newspaper this morning I found another sentence where the reporter used ‘less’ instead of ‘fewer.’ I do believe the word is going out of fashion. Nobody cares whether the word refers to quantity or plural- it’s ‘less people, less days, less readers – when it should be fewer. ‘Less’ should only be used when there is less sugar, less sunshine, less importance.
Is this the fault of English teachers? Do they still say, ‘Let the child be creative and don’t worry about spelling or grammar?’ I just feel anyone who is in the business of using words to convey information should be able to do it correctly.
Hooray, my blog is back where I can see it. I guess I was too impatient, or my computer didn’t send it properly.
Anyway, more marketing news. I have updated Goodreads and am about to have a go on Amazon Author Central.
I became aware , recently, that i had broken a few writing rules when I wrote ‘A bend in the Lane.’ I think it’s because I have been writing plays and there one can switch from character to character, whereas in books one is advised to stay with one point of view, at least for a chapter.
I found that when my main character was not present I wrote from another point of view, even if it was only for a short ‘scene.’ I didn’t notice while I was writing. It just seemed normal. I suppose that’s why people say my books are like reading a ‘soap.’
I’ll use my bookworm image so folk know this is a writing blog.