Sunday, 30 October 2011

On the specifics of my terrible writing

So maybe that title is a little overkill, but following on from the last post, I thought I would make clear the changes I'm making to my writing style. Usually I try and mix my blogs in with general advice to other aspiring authors, but things may be a little more specific to me this time. Of course if you fall prey to the same things I do/did, you are a FOOL and should be punished... I mean you can take this advice and change your own writing too. Bla.

I'm going to choose two examples of bits from my old draft, one good and one bad.

Here is the good one:

“Thing's change,” he muttered to himself quietly. And he knew he was speaking of more than his relationship with Eradeen. With every year of his life he looked back, he saw a different man, sometimes strong, other times desperately weak. Almost a year to the day his heart had been left to die by the woman he loved, and yet only two years before he had chosen her, sweet but serious Demm, to be the one he would love for the rest of his life.


A pale tear drop fell to the bottom of the page, seeping through the paper like a sea against sand. Dearon rested his head in his hands, breathing heavily as his eyes glazed over. A second tear fell, then a third, and before he could control himself he had ripped the unfinished letter in two. The torn halves rested gently on the table, unmoving in the shallow breeze.


Yeah I know I've used this example before in the blog, and no it's not the only bit of my old draft I like, but its the most poignant example I can think of. Last post I was talking about taking out some of the 'pretty' from my writing. I didn't mean bits like this. There are a few changes I would make here though; the word "shallow" is a bit pointless, maybe the "his heart was left to die" is a bit OTT, and the way some of the sentences are laid out is a bit questionable, but really these are tiny things that would get picked up in revision anyway. It's simple, to the point, and that is what makes it elegant. No where in that last paragraph have I explicitly stated Dearon's feelings, it's all actions that give you an impression of what's going on.

Now for me to be mean to myself. I love to do that. That's why I threw up in my room after drinking too much the other night so that now I have to sit in a room that smells like... anyway, enough of that. Don't drink kids, or if you're going to, don't drink like 5 different types of drink in one night. Stick to Carlsberg...

This is the bad extract, which I think I may have actually used as an example of good revision in an earlier blog, which is a little embarrassing... Oops. It's from the very start of the book. *shudder*

“Wake up Favoir”


Half-formed memories lost their focus. He tried to remember, but couldn't. He squinted. The room was dark, lit only by candles trailing smoke into his lungs, but his eyes saw a tapestry of colours, shielding the features of a new interrogator. A lead weight in his temple pulled his head downwards. The man moved closer.


*throws up again*

Seriously, I hate that now.

Like, really really hate.

You don't see why? Let me show you.

"Half formed memories lost their focus" IF THEY WERE ALREADY HALF FORMED THEY WOULD HAVE ALREADY BEEN OUT OF FOCUS YOU FOOL!!!!!

"He tried to remember, but couldn't." YOU JUST SAID THE MEMORIES WERE OUT OF FOCUS TWICE IN THE LAST SENTENCE, WHY WHY WHYYY ARE YOU DOING IT AGAIN???

"He squinted." Okay enough CAPS. This was just me deliberatly putting in a short sentance to add tension. But if you're going to do that, make the short sentance something important like "the door opened" or "he screamed" not "he f***ing squinted!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111111111"

"The room was dark, lit only by candles trailing smoke into his lungs, but his eyes saw a tapestry of colours, shielding the features of a new interrogator." Okay this bit isn't so bad. If you can find a flaw, let me know, I wanna rip into it so bad...

 "A lead weight in his temple pulled his head downwards." = Ian thinking "I want a metaphor!" Classic example of me trying too hard, and even if it isn't a pain for the reader, it makes me shudder


"The man moved closer." Fine this bit is okay as well. Better that the bloody squinting thing...


So I think it's pretty safe to say i won't be copying that bit into the new draft. In fact I'm re-writing the prologue without a single bit of the original in it. I tried a re-write which had some bits from the original in it, and it didn't work out so well. This new one rocks so far. It's simple in a good way, like that first extract. It gets the point across, and lets the plot, characters and dialogue work their magic. I hope. I really do hope.

BUY MY BOOK when it's published.

Ian.

P.S. Very very sorry for all the caps

P.S.S. Before I go I wanna mention this blog I found. It's by a literary agent (google the term if it confuses you) and its a great insight into the world of writing and publishing, with a ton of great content. http://blog.nathanbransford.com/








1 comment:

  1. That link is really good thanks for sharing it :)

    ReplyDelete