Writing a Novel – Day 10

I wrote this post on Friday, but when I came out of my self-imposed Internet blockade, I was confronted with the tragedy in Connecticut and could not bring myself to post it. Most of Friday was spent in trying to channel my outrage and anger at the senseless killing of children into some meaningful action. I think if lay people like you and me cannot get rid of our apathy about the hijacking of the topic of gun control in this country, no change will happen.

Dec 14 2012

Gaurav Rastogi (published author himself!) points me to this great article about the writing habits of famous authors. One thing you learn from it is that every writer has their own recipe for getting it done, though I have to say Hemmingway had style when it came to his method, quite like his output.

“Hemingway stands when he writes. He stands in a pair of his oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu—the typewriter and the reading board chest-high opposite him.”

Maya Angelou’s confession that she often writes nine pages and cuts out six is consoling.

Yesterday I got a fair ways into Chapter 6, but today I think I’m going to be going back and redoing most of it today, mostly because my characters got from point A to point B (literally) too quickly. Metaphorically, this has been always a problem for me; I can recall my 9th grade English teacher saying, “Vidya, your précis is too short, it leaves out too much.” At a writing class at Stanford, I got the same feedback – I was hurrying my characters’ lives along, not explaining enough.

So today is all rewriting, again. It is not fun; I want to know what happens to these characters, and it is frustrating to have to wait. I have to say I have so much more respect for people who complete novels, even those of the trashy kind. Even a bad novel has to have all the moving parts work and all the logic worked out. It is bloody hard work, so at this point you can imagine how awed I feel by the likes of Rowling and Tolkein, who construct complete worlds that are populated by multiple characters with unique traits, worlds that operate by a different yet cohesive set of rules. No wonder it took Rowling seven years to write the first book.

More next week.

Please leave comments here instead of FB so I can keep a record. Thanks!

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