Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Riddled with doubt and a new plan

I’m not feeling quite as down as I was over the weekend.  I still feel like an inadequate writer but I’m not dwelling on this.  This is partly because I drew up a new writing plan, a fresh way to organise myself and decide new deadlines for projects; I have given myself until the end of March to finish editing Silver and write a synopsis and covering letter to go with it.

Another reason for my non-dwellingness is because I’m back at work and have less time to think, mixed with being utterly exhausted and in dire need of a week off (which I’m getting in 1 and half weeks, not that I’m counting down).

Have you noticed that at every interview with a writer, when asked how to be a writer, they always say ‘read, read, read’.  Although this isn’t strictly true (the more important one is write, write, write!) reading is very important when it comes to writing.  It is through reading that you learn about how to write.  You should dissect every book you read – how has the plot been formed, how is the book structured, what makes the characters so believable or so poor, what words don’t work, what words do.

I recently read a review of a fantasy book on Authonomy from one of the editors of HarperCollins.  They told the writer to be careful with the use of love triangles as they have been greatly overused (Twilight’s fault).  This sent a shock of worry through me.  While I won’t admit that the love triangle in Silver is traditional, it does still exist; there are two men in my heroine’s life.  My argument for keeping the triangle is that, while she does love one of them she isn’t necessarily in love with either of them.  Rather, the two men represent the fork in the road at which she stands; should she fight for a normal life or stick with the life she has and knows.

What this has done is warn me that if I am ever lucky enough to land myself an agent, they may want it rewritten.  And if I’m not lucky enough to land an agent, I will have to make the decision to change the novel myself.

I’m working on editing Silver at the moment and I have been warned through reading articles and through feedback given to me via Authonomy that using the passive voice is bad.  Thankfully one feedback giver was kind enough to explain to me what this meant!  I have been reading every sentence of Silver since then constantly reminding myself of the passive voice and this has made me highly suspicious of the word ‘was’.  After only a couple of minutes the definition of passive becomes blurred and my brain begins to ache.

I’m currently reading Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding.  It’s a brilliant book and I highly recommend it.  When I started reading it I was comforted; the writing was similar to mine and the story was just as fast paced.  As I read on, the strength of the writing and plot began to smack me in the face and I suddenly doubted myself. 

I’ve been thinking hard about the plot of Silver for the last few days.  I’ve written it in a different structure to most books, which inevitably would cause doubt on some level, but now I’m wondering if it’s boring rather than innovative.  Does the story move too slowly?  Is the plot and ending not satisfying?  Should I rewrite it?  This last question makes me want to curl up in a corner and cry.

Every writer doubts themselves.  They must each rise above it, remain positive and learn from the experience.  I may have to rewrite Silver, but I will take away plot structuring lessons from it.  I may have to change my heroine’s relationships with the men in her life, but I will have learnt lessons about the market and the downsides to your chosen genre being today’s fashion.  

I have my new writing plan and I have every intention to stick to it.

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