Saturday, 3 January 2009

On Writing

I have just finished a good book called ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. It is part autobiography, part brilliant advice. It has inspired me to take a gleaming sharp hatchet to Chapter Two, it being too fat and bloated to run away.

And now my bloody hatchet is out and wildly swinging in all directions. Useless dialogue attribution, adverbs and extraneous sentences are all heading for the chop. Stephen King, I shall either thank you tremendously for this or howl at your feet as my novel turns into a postcard.

Finally I stand amidst the wreckage. Something has happened to the first 54 pages. They seem to be breathing on their own now. They sparkle and wink at me. I think they hopefully would do the same to you, too. It’s miles better, even objectively I can see that (and believe me, it could still be pants, its just now the Agent Provocateur of pants as opposed to Primark).

Stephen King's advice in his book has been a great help. Luckily I am not a big fan of the old adverb (she said firmly), as the whole idea is that the dialogue and preceeding action should tell the reader whether the sentence is said firmly, or not. I also much prefer to say 'said' (she shouts), so the dialogue attribution is generally okay, although there was one dodgy page when everyone cried, gasped, and whispered instead. Are the characters incapable of talking normally? Dearie me...

I remain amazed by the edit process. I feel like shouting 'CONSTANT VIGILANCE!' like JK Rowling's character Alastor Moody from 'Harry Potter'. But it is true - it's needed!

And Happy New Year!

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