Monday, 10 May 2010

One step forward, two steps back...

I'm currently working on the requested full for Shoes, Lies & Videotape, and I'm really frustrating myself, but on the good side I'm learning alot as I go along. My word count currently stands at just over 30,000, which leaves me 18 days to complete it, edit it, and submit it. *gulp*

I have spent time worrying about the fact that I seem to be someone who writes slowly, but then I tend to edit quite heavily as I go along, rather than being able to get a rough draft down quickly and then go to work on it. I suspect I'm probably doing that wrong way around, but I don't think I could do it the other way so I'm going with it.

I also fret that people will think I should have written the whole thing before subbing an entry into the competition, or at least have written it in the interim. But then I'd never written any romance at all before entering the competition, so had no clue ( and still have very little!). I wanted to wait to chat with the editors once i'd placed to see how they wanted me to progress, and actually I'm glad I did in retrospect, because such alot changed from my original premise as a result of that call.
Then it was onto resubbing a revised synopsis and waiting, resubbing the partial and waiting, resubbing the revised partial and waiting again...and being kind of paralysed with fear in each interim waiting period in case i'd got it horribly wrong and not writing anymore until I had confirmation from them that I should. I've been incredibly lucky that my waiting times so far have been tiny, but still I should probably have written more during them. It's a learning curve I guess, I've kind of needed my hand holding throughout because this is all very new to me.

Anyway - the one step forward and two steps back thing. Over the last couple of days I've written myself into a corner, and have really struggled with a particular scene. I've written it from one pov, then tried it from the other, but still it just wasn't clicking into place for me. I sat down with it this afternoon thoroughly disheartened, and finally realised exactly what I needed to do with it.
D.E.L.E.T.E the damn thing!
If I was finding it such an uphill struggle to write, I'm pretty sure other people would find it an uphill struggle to read. And then go and do something less boring instead. ( see what I did there? Anyone of a certain age in the UK will be singing the theme tune to a certain kids TV show from the 70's...)
Deleting it was liberating, and I love it so much better the new way. I am back to enjoying writing it again, which has to be good, right? I've kind of concluded from this episode that I'll listen to my gut instinct earlier - if it's just not going right, then there is a reason for that.

18 days isn't very long is it? I shouldn't be here!


  1. Don't worry about what other people think, Joanne. I hadn't finished my comp entry when I entered the Feel the Heat competition either (good thing too since it was rejected!).
    Concentrate on what the eds think instead. And definitely go with your gut. I'm a rough draft quickly kind of girl and then go back and edit multiple times - but only 'cause if I don't get it down fast, I never will! :-)

  2. Jackie's right - 'Writer's gut' isn't what happens when you sit at your desk eating too much chocolate but a very useful writing tool (as is the chocolate, I hasten to add!). Don't be afraid to cut and run with something else and remember the eds themselves said during the comp that the ms didn't have to be finished.
    Good luck :-)

  3. Hi,

    If you've plucked up courage to delete that's pretty good and downright professional, because with a 50,000 wd novel there's no room for padding and unnecessary baggage, unlike a 150,000 wd that allows for more indepth multiple character plots and more general detail all round.

    Gut instinct!
    Sixth sense!
    If either of above arises whilst wriing, stop, and walk away from the puter. Mull over what you're feeling and seeing.

    Take heed of the "between the words" as does a film director = backdrop, where the characters are positioned, and what you want from the scene ie; emotion, tension, sensual, serene or explosive drama.

    Think how actors take on the persona of characters created by playright or novelist. Imagine having to do a poingnant death scene. How does an actor convey utter desolation of loss and impart that to the camera? Tears alone won't do.

    Effectively, a novelist has to be able to become a character for as long as that character's POV is being conveyed to the page, same way the actor adopts a specific persona.

    The difference between actor and author/playright, is the actor only has to be one person on screen, except twin themes and some radio plays. Whereas,the author has to be actor, director and screen/theatre director (backdrop).

    It's tough being a writer, ain't it?


  4. Well done on the awesome word count!

    I think if the editing as you go along way works for you, then go with it. Everyone is different and I doubt any of us have the same way of writing.

    I'm fairly certain Liz Fielding is someone who edits as she goes along and look at how fab her books are!

    You'll get it done, the words flow better towards the end :-)

  5. Joanne, everyone writes at a different pace. And everyone uses a different method. I tend to do a quick rough and then pay with revisions and rewrites. Two of my CPs write 'perfect' drafts. Slower, but much more polished in the end. So, it's all different and nothing to stress about. The final product is the final product regardless of process, and eventually, I think we all spend about the same time on our MSs!

  6. Doesn't matter what technique you use as long as you get there! Good luck Joanne

  7. Sending postive vibes for speedy typing in the next 18 days (or is it less now? - sorry, think I've arrived late).


  8. Yep - I'll jump on and say everyone writes at their own pace. In my case its snailsssss pace. When i got my revsions on my full i deleted all but the first two chapters - then as I re wrote - I've kept very little from the original. It now stands at 60K and will dive into editing mode next week. Will it hurt to to delete 5K (at least) Yep, but I do it with the hope that it'll make the story better.

    Good luck in reaching your deadline!

  9. Hi Jackie
    I am mightily relieved to hear you hadn't finished your comp entry either, that makes me feel a lot better! Concentrate on the Ed's advice - absolutely.

    Thanks Lorraine, they didn't ask for completed, you're right. I wonder if they'll do another comp this year after all of the kerfuffle last year?x

    Hiya Francine, thankyou! Some really wise advice there. xx

    Hi Joanne, I love Liz Fieldings books! It must be OK then. I guess any way is OK as long as you get there really isn't it?
    Thank you for saying the words flow easier towards the end, I'm actually starting to feel a little bit of that. I'm scared to say that in case it stops!

    Maisey, hi! You're right of course - there is more than one way to do it, and they all shake down to the same end result of a completed manuscript. I can't actually believe I'll have written an entire book by the end of the month (please let me have!). Even if it never sees the light of day, I'll still be proud of having reached that milestone, you know?

    Thank you Susan. Still got my fingers crossed for you!

    Hey Suzanne. ohmagod, yes it's less now - I'm not checking the date because I don't want to start counting in case I have a panic attack!x

    Janette, wow! Well done, that is heavy revisions. Thank you for the good luck wishes , sending them right back atcha!

  10. Congrats Joanne! Just keep going and no matter how YOU write, it is the way you do it and if it works for you, it's your process! Just go with it, you can always change the way you work later on.
    Congrats again and good luck!!