Everyday life has been getting in the way of my writing lately and it has been a while since I last posted, but I’m here now and hope to give you a little insight into my thoughts and views when it comes to my own writing.
You might have noticed that quite often, my blog posts are not perfectly polished, they contains typos, grammatical errors and silly spelling mistakes. There is a reason for this.
You see, my posts are meant to provide an insight into the inner workings of this writer’s mind. To give you all a glimpse of what I am thinking and feeling on the particular day/topic I am writing on. I want these posts to be real and sometimes quite raw in emotion and opinion, and I believe this is something which can be lost in the editing process. There is such a thing, in my opinion, as too much editing, especially when it comes to an opinion piece. Through the editing process we can start to censor ourselves as we strive towards the point of polished perfection.
Now, some of you might think that there’s no excuse for poor grammar or silly typos in a published piece of writing, and yes, that might be true. However this is the choice I have made in order to keep these posts as real as possible. I do, of course, read through my posts before hitting the ‘publish’ button, but I do not overly-edit them and a simple read-through is not going to catch all of those nasty little typos.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t or won’t edit my manuscript or that I fear that editing it will diminish the realness of the characters I have created, definitely not. Writing blog posts and writing a novel are two completely different things. When blogging I am trying to capture the sometimes chaotic and confused reality of a writer, who still has a day job and supports a family. The feelings, actions, thoughts etc. are already there and I am trying to provide my audience with a snapshot of my reality. However, when writing a novel, the feelings, actions and thoughts do not preexist. I, as the writer, am creating these and through a careful editing process, the world of these characters is further enhanced not diminished.
So there you have it.
My aim is that my blog posts are real and raw, with the occasional (OK, sometimes more than occasional) typo and error, but this is my preference, rather than having a perfectly polished, but void of “realness” post.
My manuscripts, on the other hand, will be getting a completely different treatment though.
So write, read, edit, whatever, but do it your way.
What a wonderful week it has been! So many great things have happened, not only with writing but also in everyday life.
For a start, we got some more snow, which is always nice for an Aussie who hadn’t snow falling until recently. I also walked on a frozen lake! I won’t lie, I almost needed new pants after that experience and was so scared the entire time, but I’m glad I did it. The kids didn’t care, they ran out following their father, walking where he walked just like he told them to do. Me…. I was panicking the entire time and my husband thought I was joking. It wasn’t until we were back on actual land that he realised that I was actually scared and not having a joke. Perhaps it was the look of instant relief that made him realise. You see in the movies it always goes like this: person walks on ice, person feels ice cracking beneath feet, person cannot get to shore in time, falling into the icy water and getting trapped or dying of hypothermia. Apparently though, that’s not how it goes in real life. Those who grew up around snow and ice, have some kind of sixth sense or something, they know when it is safe to walk on the ice and where to walk on it and they also know that there are plenty of signs before the ice breaks, giving you time to get back to land before falling to your watery, icy death. How was I supposed to know this though? I am the Aussie who went on a snow trip as five year old, saw some snow, but never falling snow. I am the one who has trouble walking on snow unless it is freshly fallen, the one who is struggling not to slip on their arse while the husband and kids just walk on like normal.
Now that I’m sure all of the experience snow lovers are laughing at me, let’s get onto the topic of today’s post and the reason why I’ve used the word “gestation” to describe the development of a novel. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you might have seen this:
Yes, that’s right! For one whole month, I kicked procrastination in the butt and stuck to my word-count goal! I know what you’re thinking, it was only for one month, no big deal, but for me, someone who always finds an excuse, it was a pretty big deal. I met the word count, plus a little extra, as well as did some research and brainstorming for later parts in the story.
I went to bed that night (well morning actually, it was 2 a.m.) feeling a huge sense of accomplishment but realising how much further I still had to go. If I am to get my first draft written in the time frame I am hoping for, I have another 9 months that I need to stick to my word-count goal. I joked with myself, thinking that’s how long it takes for a baby to be born, then it dawned on me… writing a novel is sort of a bit like a pregnancy. You spend the first part hoping you’re doing everything right, but not knowing what it’s going to end up like on the other side. The first draft is the gestation period- the pregnancy. At the end of that, it’s like you have a new born and what do newborns do? Eat, sleep and poop, that’s basically it. What do you do with your first draft? You let it sleep for a while, you realise that,
“The first draft of anything is shit.”
Now before you get all up-in-arms and think I’m some sort of baby hater (I have three children, if I really hated babies, something went wrong there), I’m not saying that babies are shit, I’m saying that’s what comes out of them and more often than not, that’s what your first draft will be. Then you begin to edit – a lot, rewrite and edit a few more times – this is the “eating” I guess. You edit and rewrite and edit some more, bringing your story out of its infancy and helping it to grow.
My focus at this point is the gestation of the novel, to get out that first draft no matter how rubbish it might be. I’m not concerning myself with perfecting the grammar and punctuation, because not only will that take time and cause me to lose my momentum in telling the story, but that’s what editing is for! Not so long ago, I used to edit as I wrote. I would reread a chapter as I finished it and edit it before I went onto to next. By the time I got to actually writing the next chapter, what I wanted to write was lost and I forgot where I was heading.
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way.” -Ernest Hemingway
I have learnt a lot about myself and my writing in the last few years, I have began to learn what works for me and what doesn’t, but I still have a lot more to learn. So for now, let’s focus on telling the story, getting it out and letting it be born. Then later I suppose I’ll worry about the rest when it’s time.
So to my fellow writers, keep writing and to book lovers, keep reading. For the world is full of great stories, stories that take you to different worlds,places and times. Some are already written and some still waiting to be born.
Read on below for a little sneak peek of József trying to prove himself to Anna.
“You see, I shared with you my hopes and dreams. I’ve never shared those dreams with anyone, not even Apa. I was afraid you see. Afraid that people would laugh or think it was silly, afraid that they would tell me to be realistic. But you didn’t laugh or tell me I was silly or tell me to be realistic. Instead, you asked if you could be a part of my dream, you asked if it could be our dream, our American dream, dreams of hope and perhaps one day, dreams of love. Maybe one day it won’t be just a dream and if that day ever comes, I want to make sure that you will be there to share that dream, together, the two of us.” -József
An excerpt from An Anguished Heart by Katherine A. Kovàcs
This week as I browsed through the many reading, writing and general book related pages I follow on Facebook and twitter, I noticed many comical posts that began with, “You know you’re a writer when…” It got me thinking back to the time when I first knew I was a writer. In many ways I have always been a writer and creator, but it was only in the few months leading up to the creation of this blog that I really began to embrace the writer within (hence the name of the blog).
Since I made the conscious decision to pursue my love of writing, those “you know you’re a writer when…” moments are noticeably on the rise!
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about the inner workings of my vivid imagination (you can read it here if you missed it). In this post I discussed that in the moment between sleep and awake, I can actively plan and edit my dreams, if that even makes sense. I know I probably sound a little crazy right about now, but I guess that kind of just goes with the territory. It’s a little difficult to explain, you see, it’s like when you are imagining or daydreaming about something, but you’re actually in a state between asleep and awake, you see the scene vividly in your mind and you see and experience it all as if you were actually there.
Now to refocus on the title of today’s post, here’s my own version (which may only be applicable to myself);
You know you’re a writer when your dreams are filled with scenes from your current WIP and you are actually able to edit these scenes as they play out in your mind.
You see, now more than ever, my dreams are filled with the world and the characters of my current WIP, Lonely Hearts. One particular scene has been playing out over and over again in my mind, as it is one that has been frustrating me and seemed like it just wasn’t working. The scene in question is one that I wrote quite a few months ago now, but never felt it was quite right. I am still quite early on in the first draft of Lonely Hearts, but I find it difficult to move on further with the story when something isn’t quite working like I feel it should be. I know I should probably just plough through and get the first draft finished and worry about editing later, but I simply cannot keep ploughing through the first draft if something isn’t right or feels incomplete.
Night after night, I experience the meeting between Thomas and Rose in the tailor’s shop that Rose works at. The scene felt incomplete, I felt like this meeting should be weighted with a range of emotions, but with the way it was written it felt like it was little more than a flutter of attraction. After a little over a week of playing out the same scene over and over, the good news is I’ve finally figured out what was missing and those missing scenes have been played out in my dreams the last couple of nights and they feel pretty good I must say. The bad news is you’ll all have to wait until I’m finished writing it to get a little sneak peek.
As I head off to fill in the missing pieces, feel free to let me know your favourite “you know you’re a writer when…” sayings, quotes, memes (whatever you want to call them) on fb, twitter (@WriterWithin_KK) or in the comments below.
“It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.”
― C.J. Cherryh
The time has come, the time to explore the dark side. I’m not talking about the dark side of my characters – that’s already well on its way, but the other dark side, the dark side of editing. I’m the first to admit that I’m not an expert when it comes to grammar, but I’d like to think that my grasp of the English language isn’t too bad. Something that is rather frustrating though is the fact that I can usually quite easily spot a typo or error in someone else’s writing, but I often miss the most obvious of errors in my own. My excuse, of course, is that I know what it is supposed to say so even though the actual text on the page is wrong, my brain is on auto-correct and reads it the way it’s supposed to be. This is why I’ve decided to recruit myself a couple of Beta Readers, people to read and critique my writing as I go and spot those pesky typos and errors and the parts when the story simply makes no bloody sense at all!
This is a big step for me something different to posting excerpts on this here little blog, it’s definitely scarier and sort of soul exposing. I mean, I’m actually asking someone to take a look at my writing and tell me their honest opinion, they need to tell me if it’s crap, if it doesn’t make sense and ask me what the heck I was thinking when I wrote it. I’ll be stepping out of my little world, where I take the hits on my blog and ‘likes’ on my Facebook page as little boosts to my ego, I’m now giving someone the opportunity to tell me that my writing is pretty much rubbish. Whilst I admit the possibility of telling me I’m a crap writer is also available through commenting on posts and on Facebook, it’s a little more daunting when you’re actually asking for it.
It’s an important step to take though, as scary and soul-exposing as it may be, it’s a step in the right direction and a step away from procrastinating. I think if I’ve promised someone, besides myself, another chapter then I am more likely to actually get it done without procrastinating.
Below is an excerpt where Rose is wondering if she will hear from Thomas after his dinner proposal, a messenger boy delivers an envelope and she is surprised and intrigued by what it contains.
So here we go #LonelyHearts2015, let’s get serious about writing!
I glanced at the envelope not knowing if I wanted to open it, perhaps it was an apology from Thomas, telling me he was unable to follow through on our dinner plans. Perhaps it was the opposite, detailing the plans. I wasn’t which option I preferred, I knew that calling off dinner would be a smarter and easier option, but I couldn’t deny the disappointment I would feel if that were the case. No matter how bad of an idea it was for something to happen between Thomas and I, the thought of nothing ever happening scared me more. Well, there’s only one way to find out, I had to open the envelope. As I held it in my hand, I felt something weighted inside of it, I slowly opened the envelope and tipped its content onto the front counter. Out of it slid a gorgeous and obviously expensive diamond and emerald necklace. As I held it up the sun caught and shone rays of light at every angle, it reminded me of him. The diamonds were the light that shone from within him despite the darkness and the emeralds, the green of his eyes. Placing it carefully on the countertop I picked up the card that had come from the envelope. Beautifully formed handwriting is on the small card, the message short and almost cryptic;
I saw this and it reminded me of you. Wear it tonight.