Tuesday, 8 January 2013


Image from here

I've had some useful feedback on Chapter One and Two of my crime novel over at the Writer's Café with honest, harsh and encouraging criticism given freely by two separate reviewers.

All my usual sins are mentioned such as cliché, galloping or moving on at a snail pace, syntax and sentence structure, bad grammar, convoluted writing or over descriptive scenes. I agree with most of it and I know I'm guilty of complicating or cluttering up scenes that would have more impact with a simpler approach. I think I'm still at the stage of getting it down as it tumbles from my head, rather than getting it out into a structured and engaging story but my voice is in there and will, eventually, come out from the debris.

Often the creative side of my brain ignores grammatical demands and the need for fine prose as I write. Addressing those aspects comes much later in the process for me. It's just the way I do it. Of most importance when I start any project is to the get ideas and thoughts down that later develop into characters, plots, and themes. Next is to worry about the technical aspects of how they all fit, interact and come together to tell the kind of story that has the reader gripped and wanting more. Stereotypes or clichés help me to recognise what I'm creating as it goes down but I take the margin further into originality as I try to get it out and that comes after the initial sketch. I think that's where both chapters are at present - half sketches of the first design stage of the foundations of my project.

Convoluted sentences and clutter that amass as I write will be culled as the fine artwork of the book develops. They're really strings of thought that help me to feel my way through the story and the experiences of the characters. The stuff I hate to lose is stored in a "Redundant Info" file to be used elsewhere in the same project or in another if it fits.

I'll bet all writers see their glaring faults after a break from the intensity of getting their ideas down into some form of structure when they go back time and again to tease out and show, in the best way they can, the story the are trying to create.

Useful as it was, the harsh criticism over at the Writer's Café put me off writing today. Writing hurts as any successful or amateur writer will testify because so much emotion or passion is invested in it. Keeping updated blog posts on my novel's progress means I have a duty to stick at it and not get put off at the first hurdle. Tomorrow I will start chapter Three and move ever onward to the desired end of 300 decent, workable pages. I need new chapters, however convoluted and clichéd, to inspire new thoughts and words with hopefully more purpose and direction as my story unfolds and reveals more about how to get to where I want it to go.

In other words. I'm still getting it down but it may be some time before I get it all out.

1 comment:

  1. Great Post.
    While I'm engaged in the first draft grammatical errors, nonsensical sentences and other nasties abound.(If I'm truly honest- some continue hanging around well into the rewrite) There's also that honeymooning period shortly after I write something when I (foolishly) believe that it's absolutely brilliant. A fresh paid of eyes and an honest critique soon pulls me back down to earth.
    Keep forging ahead. It's difficult, I know. Those precious words are beloved things and it is hard to part with them. I have a scraps folder to store some of those superfluous paragraphs or sentences. Those special moments which I cannot use... but just can't bear to cast into oblivion using DELETE. Good luck with chapter 3.