I had a challenge from the man in the mobile library when I was bemoaning the fact that rhyming poetry was unfashionable. ” No-one writes rhyming verse any more,” I said and then discovered at least two authors who are doing it successfully. He replied, ” Nobody has written a poem about a mobile library,” How could I resist?
You don’t need a flying carpet or a ship that sails the sea
For every kind of magic’s in the Mobile Library.
Let your imagination feed on tales from yesterday
Or solve a crime or find a love to wash your cares away.
You’d like a book with big, bold print? There’s plenty here to take
And picture books and paperbacks a thirst for knowledge slake.
Or in the Land of Might have Been, when you’ve a book to try
Give your imagination wings and, as a wordbird, fly.
Thinking about the book show I was wondering what other writers might like to discuss and realised that one of the fun things about being a self publisher is deciding on the cover for the book. Traditional publishers like to have a separate style for each of their writers so that readers can recognise the books by each author and I realised I had been doing that, too.
The Lane books had scenes on the front with a rather old fashioned font. The Never books looked more modern and spikey and the one odd book, the romance, had a cartoon rather than a photo. I wanted it to look chick-lit without being pink!
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!