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Young Geoffrey

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O! Praise Jebus! [Aug. 19th, 2009|04:50 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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After taking a day or two off to recover from the horrors of revisiting the novel, it seems the that first 20 pages just might be the worst 20 pages.

I sojourned again at Dufferin Grove this afternoon, enjoyed some sunshine and an atmosphere happily not drenched with humidity, and plowed through another 25 or so pages of manuscript.

And you know what? Not so bad! Some of it even good. At a couple of points I even cheered for my plucky heroine, laughing out loud with pleasure in her courage and ingenuity.

Pulling out a full-length novel manuscript and discovering that it sucks (or that the first 20 pages do) is, well, kind of demoralizing experience; I'm certainly glad I found the courage to carry on.

I think tomorrow I'll read the next fifty pages, and then the subsequent 100 or so which will remain. In the meantime I shall pray to every god, goddess and common sprite in which I don't believe (er, that would be all of them) that the work will continue to get better.

And Monday, it is my intention to once again start providing regular progress reports.

Wish me luck.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2009-08-19 09:27 pm (UTC)

bonne chance

good luck... I like the idea of writing a little bit each day.

Just as a writer's exercise... what do you think defines your style of writing? What are your idiosyncrasies? strong-points? weak points?
I think that style is really important because it makes your writing stand-out and often times more interesting.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-19 09:56 pm (UTC)

Re: bonne chance

Merci.

I'm not sure I know what you mean by "defines [my] style" of writing, but I've definitely noticed that my fiction and non-fiction seem to be very different.

One of the things I noticed today, even while I was (o! so gratefully!) realizing that Jewel was getting better as it went along, is that it read like as I was trying too hard. Trying for le mot juste instead of just, you know, telling the story.

I don't think I have a natural flair for poetic prose; my metaphors and other (wannabe) bits of "pretty" writing usually fall flat.

On the other hand, I think I'm very good with dialogue and basic narrative. I can tell a story effectively without a lot of description or exposition, but instead let the characters words and actions drive the plot forward. (And actually! That's a lot of what's wrong with Jewel — too much trying to write what I'm not good at. Well, duh! I hear the mob cry!)

I think that style is really important because it makes your writing stand-out and often times more interesting.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by that. But if I venture a guess, I think I disagree with you about the virtue of making one's writing "stand out". To me, the best writing serves the story and is only noticeable if you're actively looking for it, analysing it. Otherwise it's mostly invisible.

Interesting questions. I'm curious if you, as a reader of at least some of what I've written, agree with my self-analysis.
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[User Picture]From: jade_noir
2009-08-26 03:53 pm (UTC)

Re: bonne chance

sorry about the late response: chrome re-booted its self a while ago and destroyed my comment.
I'm going to respond to your inquiries backwards. So I do agree with your self-analysis as far as I can tell from what I've read of yours.

I think that it is not necessarily that I think that writing should be stand-out but that I like to stop once in a while during my reading and think to myself "wow that's an amazing way to say that."

That aside I think that we have different tastes in writing. I think this largely because of what we read. I know that you read a lot of Science Fiction as do I, but not anywhere as much. I find myself glued to Oscar Wilde, Leonard Cohen, Faulkner, Asimov, Yeats and B.Woodward most lately. (Mind that I of course haven't read as much as you so these are a selection of the few authors that I have actually had chance to read.) Besides that I enjoy nonfiction books by all authors provided that I am interested in the subject matter, which in pretty much all cases I am and in this case the best writing style is the one that most effectively communicates and interests.

The one thing that joins those authors together in my opinion is how they say things. Except Asimov, he's more of a direct, terse kind of guy in my opinion.

I also enjoy it when it sounds like the author is talking to you. Like the entire book is a (one-sided) conversation. Which is something similar in how you and I write. I've never seen an essay of yours that I can't hear the voice of.
Which is why I propose that your novel is becoming better as you resolve to just tell the story. (I wouldn't know because I haven't seen it)
I would say keep up doing what you are good at: telling the story, and don't worry about le mot juste.

Hope that answers your inquiries...


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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2009-08-31 01:44 am (UTC)

Re: bonne chance

No need to apologize; I understand all too well the frustrations of crashing browsers, not to mention the day-to-day matters that can get in the away of All-Important LJ conversations!

...I like to stop once in a while during my reading and think to myself "wow that's an amazing way to say that."

Ah, understood. And so do I. Though at the same time, I think as a general rule, a writer (especially this writer!) needs to take a close look at those phrases in order to make sure the bon mot isn't interfering with the narrative.

As for the writers on your list, I confess I've only read Asimov, and tried Wilde's A Portrait of Dorian Gray. Still, I was pleased to see you leave Asimov to one side, as his prose is famously "invisible".

I've never seen an essay of yours that I can't hear the voice of. Which is why I propose that your novel is becoming better as you resolve to just tell the story. (I wouldn't know because I haven't seen it)

You're on the filter for beta-reading, if I'm not sadly mistaken. Expect to have a chance to read chapters sooner than later (if you're willing).
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