Current Work: Non fiction submission, novel editing
Listening to: Radio 4 (Book Club – Listen Again)
First Thought for the Day:
As the pain that can be told is but half a pain, so the pity that questions has little healing in its touch. -Edith Wharton, novelist (1862-1937)
Advice for Writers
I’ve just received the latest copies of Writers News & Writers Magazine. These are the only magazines I subscribe too – I used to buy magazines frequently, I love reading but many of them are just not worth the money. These two publications however, are essential I believe, for my development as a writer. They are full of advice, success stories, competitions to enter, details of new markets and general information about the world of writing and publishing. I rip the plastic off and curl up on the settee for a couple of hours devouring the pages and making notes of things to follow up.
To Be or Not to Be?
However, sometimes you have to take things with a pinch of salt and that is particularly true when reading how other authors ‘do it’. How they structure their writing day and how they produce words on paper or on screen. I get too engrossed with the details of their preferences and almost start to think that their way is the only way. Well it isn’t. You have to find your own way. This was borne out by two authors I read about. One does not make constant notes, nor plans in great detail. She believes that if something is important she’ll remember it and if not it wasn’t worth remembering! She also thinks that too much plotting (for her) weakens the words and I must admit I favour this approach. Its most natural for me and I’ve lost sleep thinking I don’t do enough of it because I’m told its what writers should ‘do’. Another writer wrote about his working day, and the ‘business’ of writing. He ‘works’ (which doesn’t always mean writing) in ‘normal’ business hours of 9-5, doesn’t work evening or weekends. Another myth challenged, that as a writer, you must work every hour, every day, every spare minute.
I guess the moral of the tale is – do what suits you, try things out and if they don’t ‘fit’ don’t force it. I feel better that much more successful writers don’t always follow the ‘rules’. I’m much more comfortable in my skin and therefore produce better writing for it.
So half way through my week – how is it going? Fairly well, I think. Though yesterday I discovered that I’d missed a whole scene in my novel. It was a piece which is essential to the beginning and without it, well, it doesn’t make much sense. I was so sure that I’d written the scene but can I find it? So this morning after taking the dog for a walk in the mist I plotted out what the missing bits were. It felt good to be writing something with these characters again, even though I’d lived it in my head. So despite all my planning and plotting (see earlier point) I’m not infallible, things get missed. Another lesson learnt.
And Finally, the Last Word of the Day:
(noun: IN-tuhr-dikt, verb: in-tuhr-DIKT)
noun: A prohibition, especially a formal one, as by a court, church, etc.
verb tr.: To prohibit or stop.
From Latin interdictum (prohibition), from interdicere (to prohibit), from dicere (to speak). Ultimately from the Indo-European root deik- (to show, to pronounce solemnly) that is also the source of other words such as judge, verdict, vendetta, revenge, indicate, dictate, and paradigm.
"In China, near Shanghai, the inhabitants of two small districts have the privilege of raising eggs for the whole surrounding country, and that they may give up their whole time to this business, they are interdicted by law from producing silk."
Charles Darwin; The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication; 1868.