Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Changed my mind

I've pretty much decided not to work on the old historical for Lace & Blade. Not so much because of the payment issues (after all, it might only be $10 but it would also be a print credit on my resume) but more because of lack of time. The deadline is 1 August, which is rapidly approaching (too rapidly!) and on a second read-through I realised the story needed a LOT more work than I thought it did. I don't think I could get it finished in time. Never mind, there'll be other places to send it if/when I do pummel it into shape.

The current issue of Mslexia has some tips from journalist & novelist Aminatta Forna. They're all good advice, but I particularly liked this one:

When you get stuck, it can be quite useful to go back and work on what you've already written. Perhaps the story has slightly changed since you wrote that chapter? 'Housekeeping' work - revisiting, editing - keeps you going with the flow.


This isn't advice you see very often. More usually, you're told as a writer that going back and editing something stops the flow and is therefore a Bad Thing. But this sounds very sensible, and I've done it myself a few times and found it worked. I just have to be careful not to get so bogged down in the minutiae of whether it should be 'and' or 'but' that I lose track of the story entirely!

5 comments:

Caroline Dunford said...

I find editing is always better when I've let the piece fester for a while. As soon as I have some emotional distance then I can hack and slay as need be - pretend it isn't mine! My editing doubtless improves my work immeasurably!
Strangely, although I can write while music is playing, I edit better when it is.

Caroline Dunford said...

Cannot write while music is playing - no it seems write a coherent comment while my son is updating me on his lunch progress...

fiona glass said...

LOL!

I usually edit a *whole* story better if I've left it to fester, but sometimes this 'fiddling if you're stuck' can be good just for reminding you of what's gone before and getting you back into the flow and feel of the work.

Emily Veinglory said...

I certainly go back and fiddle. if nothing else it speeds up the later editing pass. it does mean my first sections tend to be more polished than later ones, but that's no biggee

fiona glass said...

Oh, likewise. It takes me so long to finish a novel that the early sections have often had 2 or 3 years' worth of extra fiddling!