Monday, 25 May 2009

The Art Of Novel Writing

Have had a bit of an interesting week - tweaking my novel and trying to get it down to a blurb. This is murder when your head is full of novel and chocabloc with characters, scenarios, sub-plots, jokes - yes, I keep slipping in the odd one. Latest one I'm including is a Dusty Bin one - you'll have to wait to read it to see!

Anyway, is the sort of exercise I blithely give my novel writing students to do, so has been good for me in a kind of take-your-own-medicine kind of way. But you know, what it has done is to refocus me on just who my audience might be for my novel and just how it might be marketed. Because I'm not in it just for the fun of it. I do want to be published - oh, for all sorts of reasons - and yes, for the most crass reason of having the thrill of seeing it in a bookshop. I was bad enough when I got my collection of poetry into local bookshops - I kept popping in to see who was picking up, and rearranging the table so that mine was prominent. I even sidled up to some poor woman and said - That's good, that is. Which horribly shamed my children - who were there at the time. Yes. I look forward to the days when I stalk Borders and Blackwells to check that my book is on their shelves, and to rearrange their table, and try to get friends to phone up and order the book just to make sure that it stays there. Pathetic, you might think? But I prefer to think that it's the culmination of years of unseen (by the public) toil - am hoping that finally I get my moment in the sun!

Back to the actual process. I was thinking today about how writing a novel isn't just about weaving in various strands, nor is it really like juggling a line of plates atop sticks (although that's pretty similar at times) - I reckon it is more akin to painting with oils - dabbing on layers here, daubs there, standing back to see the whole, removing bits there, overpainting here, making sure the background isn't too much to the fore, and getting the main focus sharp enough.

I think I'm at the oil painting stage. Am on yet another edit and dabbing in the odd comment there, checking symmetry here, removing a whole bush which was threatening to overtip the balance.

So, am back to it in a moment. I forgot to check my to do list for last week. I hope I did most of it.

Oh yes, and I enjoyed Acoustic Night with my friend Lee. I did a brand new poem called Post-Coital (which apparently unnerved some of the men there ...) plus one I'm learning for the gig I'm doing at SWALK festival. That's

And here's a daft picture to brighten up this post.

This week my to do list is:

Finish writing blurb and get that off in time for Winchester Writers Conference and appointments with agents.

Wait with bated breath for agent to get back to me - she has sent me 2 holding letters so far saying don't contact anyone else, I'm enjoying reading it.

Send in a couple of poems and haikus and write a short story to send off

Fill out the 2 forms from Optimum Health Clinic and have a look at the fat pack they sent me

Read the other fat pack I've got from the OU

Stop faffing about on Facebook so much - that Helen Thomas is a big distraction!

1 comment:

  1. Oh damn have just visited last weeks='s to do list and have only managed to do about half.

    Still need to do sorting of Dad's paperwork, and write that poem (I'd forgotten about it) and other stuff.

    Going to take the dog out for a walk now ... sigh ...