Saturday, 6 May 2017

Boy, let me see the writing

Aspiring author - will my book ever be a page-turner?

Murder your darlings

In Shakespeare’s Richard II, the Duke of York repeats “let me see the writing” twice in the same scene. It’s very tough to show someone your writing. But when you do, miraculous things can happen. Having presented daughter Emily with another new section of my novel to look at, she asked a pertinent question and I removed 250 words within seconds. And instantly saw how much better the page was. Clearer. More vivid. You need a critical eye to help murder your darlings.

And there it is in writing, fairly drawn

So far Emily is my only reader. My “First Reader.” My “Prime Reader.” And will be the only one until I am certain I want a second reader. If I ever do. I want to spend every second with my characters. It’s noticeable that my other retirement projects have fallen away. I’m walking less, which I must change. I’m mopping and hoovering less, which can wait. I haven’t really spent time on jigsaws or piano practice. What happened to learning Italian? Facebook and Emails barely get a look-in. I’m behind on TV, cinema and theatre-going. But I’m fully immersed in the crises on the planet Rhenium.
Bruising edits....

 

Bruising edits

The trilogy was originally called The Akolyte Wars but even that’s changed – it’s now The Rhenium Wars and all past labels in this blog have been changed accordingly but, for the record, that change happened on May 1st 2017. As did Raydan’s solo instrument. (He’s my first person character.)  Raydan used to play the violin, but now he plays the mandolin. Why the change? Something clicked about something in a future chapter and a mandolin it had to be…. Write. Edit. Write and edit. Write. Write. Write more. Edit later.
Raydan, possibly, aged 35+ (he's 14 when the book starts....)

Kill your darlings

I attended a Guardian masterclass on writing suspense with Claire McGowan and a very inspiring day it was too with terrific follow-up materials and exercises to complete. It helped me fully understand the notion of murdering or killing your darlings, that famous writerly advice about being ruthless in the editing stage. Don’t be precious about things you’ve written. Slash. Burn. Purge.
Scene of an inspiring writing day....

Origin of phrase?

The true origin of the phrase is lost, I think. Contenders for its invention include: Anton Chekhov, G K Chesterton, William Faulkner, F Scott Fitzgerald, Alan Ginsberg, Eudora Welty and Oscar Wilde. But I’ll quote two:
From Stephen King’s On Writing: a memoir of the craft
“kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
And from Arthur Quiller-Couch in his 1914 lecture On Style
“If you here require a practical rule of me, I will present you with this: ‘Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”
For no reason other than....