Writing which way?

Which way to go? This really IS a discovery draft. SO wanting to go back and make the scenes meet, connect the narrative flow. So many things to juggle, can’t hold them all in my head at once. But must-must-must go forward. The three glued sheets of timelines are helping but… then I get into one voice or the other. Or one storyline and get so into it that the rest doesn’t matter. But when I pull back the rest does matter. I have just finished a crucial scene: things are getting difficult between J and M. Interesting! So much unknown ahead, coroner etc…

The photo’s from a recent trip to Polperro, Cornwall. Wonderful country, as Poldark fans know.

 

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Writing festival rewards

The writing world, cold and lonely? Or fun and friendly? A local festival made it fun and friendly for me last week. I went to one Famous Author talk (Max Hastings) and bumped into local friends. Next day went to two ‘inside the writing-and-publishing business’ talks which included, in total, four local authors, three of whom selling in mega-quantities even though not yet household names. More friendliness encountering two former Writers at Work students of mine, including the recently published Diane Chandler. Following that I went to an evening of another Writers at Work student, the now very published Louise Voss sharing the discussion of writing modus operandi with SJI Holliday otherwise known as Susi. They are both ‘killer women’ and that’s a whole organisation of criminally inclined (so to speak) writers, friends and supporters to each other. I’m interested in aspects of the genre for an idea I’ve been noodling with for a while.

As for my part as a local author in the local festival, The Chiswick Calendar interviewed me for The Extraordinary Dr Epstein along with two other authors at Waterstones bookstore. That was friendly too, including friends in the audience.

But there was a spillover reward I have to share with you. The next afternoon after the Joy of Crime Writing event I was taking a local train. I glanced as I headed along the platform and saw a young woman deeply engaged in a paperback book, a good quarter-way in. Glanced closer and saw it was Black Wood, the SJI Holliday book. Surprise! Glanced even closer and recognised the young woman as one across the aisle from me who asked about how the authors researched police stuff. And so I spoke to her (saying she had asked the question I wanted to ask). We had a good crime writing chat, trading authors for three stops until she got off the train. Esther is a philosophy student at Bristol and a mad keen crime writing fan. A reward to warm the heart cockles of any writer who gives talks at festivals and a friendly titbit I passed on to Susi. The reward I liked most of all was the wider friendliness of reading-passion.

A writer grows

So, nearly the length of a pregnancy since I started this site and began to figure out WordPress. In the meanwhile I have finished, formatted, self-published and launched my novel under the book-and-blog guidance of the wonderful Catherine Ryan Howard. And I’ve wordpressed and facebooked my protagonist (and great grandfather) as a being in his own right. Now it’s time to turn this blog into something more useful, especially useful for writers. Yes I mean authors, creators.

So I’ve moved the moments of peace to their own pages — haiku to ‘so still’ and photographs to ‘green slash’. I couldn’t bear to give up the gorgeous Turkish twilight, the allium seedhead and my own-grown roses (called Birthday Girl) which I’d had as headers, so I moved them to ‘natura naturans’ in the green slash department. Read the haiku and you’ll grasp that title. I will add haiku and photos season by season.

But! The front page post position is for writing about writing. And especially at the moment for judethomasnz who commented on my comment on CRH’s recent blog on how many drafts it takes to make a novel.

Jude got attention from an editor for her historical novel, which she had told in two voices, from two time points. Great going to get feedback from an editor! But ed suggested a rewrite, into a straight chronological narrative. Should she do it?

My experience: after trying for years to find the voice for my historical-novel-based-on-a-true-story in various creative ways, I finally bit the bullet. Decided to stop being clever and just Tell the Story, chronologically. Writing flowed more easily and naturally. I tried to make the most of the natural ups and downs as events rolled on.

If you’re in how-to-tell-it anguish, don’t be afraid to try the straightforward way… but changing your head around after the long slog of writing can be painful. On the other hand, should this anguished writer try another editor?