Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Moving Forward

I'm still rewriting my first novel. Thirty-six pages of mostly new material so far. I'm a slow writer, but I'm getting there. I don't really have a plan, just trying to get my character up to where the novel previously started and to have more action and suspense. I'm not sure how it's going as I'm not rereading yet, but I'm happy that I'm able to keep moving forward at this point.

Do you reread and edit as you're working on a first draft? I tend not to, unless I have an idea that needs incorporating earlier or I need to change something plot-wise. I like to keep pushing the characters into new situations without worrying too much about fixing the mistakes or tidying up the writing. This is especially important when I have no firm plot I'm working to. If I spend too much time going back and fixing things, I'll never move on to writing the new material. 

There's a buzz in following your character's first steps through a scene, meeting a new person for a first time. If you're worrying too much about tidying up your previous scene, you may miss an important detour the character wants to take or the details of this new adventure. I find it easier to go back and sort the language and add, take out or move information than it is to discover it the first time. 

I think it was Hemingway, but don't quote me on it, who said he liked to leave off writing knowing where the character was going next, so when he sat down to write the next day he could start off right away without figuring out that information. I try to do this as well. It doesn't always work because sometimes I just can't see how to get my character out of whatever situation she's stuck in and need some time away from the screen to ruminate on it. But if I can, I leave my character ready to head off on their next adventure. 

Actually, do quote me on it: The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never be stuck. That is the most valuable things I can tell you so try to remember it. - Ernest Hemingway from an article in Esquire, Oct 1953. More advice from the man here.

Today I finished off a scene that had been hanging over me for a week as I was uncertain of how to get her out of it. Now her next steps are planned, well, I know who she's going to be with and what they plan on doing. What actually happens is totally up to them on the day. 

I've also been working on the poem I started last week. It's basically done, I'm just tidying up the language which could take another week. First poem I've written in a while. 

The magazines have been very quiet lately. I know Finland starts to grind to a halt in June and totally goes dormant in July, but I didn't think the literary world would go so silent this early. I haven't had a rejection or acceptance or anything for over a month, I think. It's frustrating to sit here and wait to send out more work. I'm sure there are editors everywhere buried under reading piles, but let's hope they get some responses out soon. 

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