Saturday, August 05, 2006

The String Vest

I put the words together a couple of years ago. At the time they flowed like some beautiful river, pounding down a mountainside and gathering in a lake of chapters that made perfect sense. I loved every minute I wrote them, hardly waiting until the kettle was boiling in the morning before adding to the word count and staying up late into the night to storm my way through another chapter.

It all made perfect sense, the plot was a dream and came together without a conscious thought. I allowed it to go where it needed to go, we were in harmony, blood sisters. My characters padded themselves out to become nicely rounded individuals, and my research fitted in like a well worn glove, seamlessly sliding in to the whole to create a realistic and believable world.


Have I been suffering from delusions of writing all this time?

Now I look at it and I find that it resembles one of my grandad's string vests, full of enormous holes that need to be patched and repaired. The more I look, the more there are. They are growing by the hour, horrible loopy things, hanging in a tangled mess of unresolved threads.

Hang on, hold up, wait just a minute, I still have a little faith...don't I?

Oh shit, better get a move on......


Anonymous said...

There's nothing wrong with a well-strung vest.

Seriously - if a passage you've written misbehaves itself when you previously thought it was good - just read it again and again until you find the original sense of it before killing it with over-work

Lee said...

Sorry, Skint, but in the main I disagree. Distance does wonders for your fiction, and I've vowed never to consider a piece finished till it's 'rested' for many months, maybe even longer.

That said, a good writer is always her own harshest critic, so roll up your sleeves, Minx, makes the changes you think necessary, but DON'T GIVE UP. I'm sure you'll only strengthen your novel.

Marie said...

I agree Minx, don't give up. I find that letting the novel rest for a few weeks works for me because I can come back to it refreshed and full of new ideas, plus I am looking at it with fresh eyes as it's so easy to start hating what you write if you keep going over it.

Maxine Clarke said...

I always think (as an editor) that it must be hard to edit your own work. I am (usually!) praised by "my" authors as I have a perspective on their work that they don't have.
I don't know if fiction writing is the same as science journalism, but it might be useful to have someone else go over it to give you some feedback? (You can always take it or leave it!)

Unknown said...

I've found that workshopping short stories on Critique Circle, for example, was a great way of exposing (!) the cracks that I already thought were in there.

On the other hand, it also helped to confirm what I had thought about some work as being nearly there.

I agree with lee that you are always your own harshest critic, and a fresh perspective from the luxury of distance can do wonders, as can another pair of eyes, as petrona points out.