Thursday, October 16, 2008

Going back to go forward...

Something I find frustrating when I write is those times when I am keen to press on with the story but it occurs to me that one of the characters (usually Rossamünd, bless him) is not being quite true to himself in an earlier chapter. Sometimes I will try to write on, enjoying too much the sensation of the word count increasing and chapters being marked off (especially with the hot breath of deadlines panting on my nape).

Inevitably, however, I can avoid it no longer and must put the advance of the words on hold and correct the earlier discord, work the changes all through the text until I am satisfied - which can cost frustratingly large amounts of time. Yet once the agony is grappled the text invariably is far improved and my sense of direction stronger, and I leap off once more into 'storm front' of the tale with fresh vigour.

Sometimes I also just get stuck...

16 comments:

E N Reinmuth said...

I think you're progressing pretty well for a Book such as this, though I do sympathize when I picture tall Grogans leering over your shoulder with the word 'Deadline' printed upon their chests.

Note how I say Sympathize, not Empathize, :D as a teenager it's easier to procrastinate. (that or I'm just ignorant to consequences)

Tell you what, I vote there be a 'David's Pat On the Back' fund. When you finish with much success, chocolates and Helium balloons for all.

portals said...

I think Rossamund has quite a consistent character but he always seems to have a problem with conviction.

JL Riffe said...

I sympathize greatly as I find myself backing & forthing when I write, which perhaps might just be my natural rhythm. It is a bit hard on inching forth the progress-o-meter though and is indeed frustrating.

Regardless, your characters are superb and the situations you place them in have a very natural feel in how well they go together. I applaud your back & forth for though it may be frustrating on your side of things, on the reader’s side it produces a great yield.

/Salute

Jack said...

Writer's angst. I've seen it before. I've had it before. It's that insideous need to write for the sake of putting words on the page, and getting on to the next. I heard it was a big killer for JK Rowling, but every writer gets it and every writer can get rid of it.

Noelle said...

Whenever I get stuck, I call my friend and ask her for advice. It's always the same: "Water buffaloes."

This has never proved helpful, but it might someday :)

Sam Hranac said...

Amen, brother. I have a novel about two drafts from complete, but I need to cut some serious blood with this next edit. Strategic characters must change. The MC evolved through the story, but in some ways, not as I wanted. I have to go back and reset his initial position. This has stopped my writing for a freaking MONTH!

Ben Bryddia said...

My characterization problems revolve around the fact I started my planned epic series...without any real knowledge of how to write anything. Consequently, instead of forging ahead with the rest of the story I've devoted an enormous amount of time to proof reading, re-writing, adding additional scenes, and revamping just about every character. I'm having a terrible time trying to motivate my little blokes without having them all become psychotic avengers or other fantasy stereotypes. Too often in my writing plot dictates how the characters behave, not the other way around.

So you aren't alone, Mr. Cornish. Rather, you have the unique opportunity to write something knowing hundreds of people world-wide will read it. It's a great gift to be able to say something and have people listen to you.

So no pressure. It's not like we aren't all holding our collective breath or anything.
-Ben.

monday said...

aren't we?

i also sympathize. :( my problem is getting *ahem* carried away when i go back and fix or alter something, or tying everything together in such a crazy knotty that if one thing changes, ten other things have to change, too, which takes a long time to sort out

also, Mr Cornish, i have been reading HP Lovecraft [can you believe my lirbrary only has 1 book of his, which they squirrel away somewhere until october rolls around?] and am seeing a very interestng parallel between you and he, specifically the way you describe + develop yr monsters. it is kind of subtle, and you treat your beasties much more like characters than like props, but nontheless i can you tell you have read him at great length. and are ocourse all the better for it, even if he was a nutcase

Sapphirefly said...

I can't sympathize at all. When I write, I'm like a monkey - climbing up one vine at a time. At the end of the vine I look back down and I ask myself, 'Was that a good time?' and if the answer is anything other than a blaring 'yes', then I cut down the vine and climb a different one instead. But I'm a joker compared to you. My stuff tastes like candy, while yours tastes more like meat. I don't think I could ever give anyone the willies, but unnecessary surgery gets me every time. So, you had me at 'hello'.

Keep working hard. I support you 100%.

Anna said...

I´m envyous of you all. I can´t write at all if I don´t count the articles I write sometimes for a genealogical "newspaper" and then it´s more stories from the real life.

By the way Mr Cornish, how is the culture-life in H-C? Authors, painters, genealogy ..?

Noelle said...

I tend to pound out words like a crazy person until I run out of steam, then I go back and read what I've written. Sometimes I say "this is crap" and delete the whole thing, and sometimes it just takes a few minor adjustments. My problem is when I go farther back and change something I wrote chapters ago but forget to revise the rest of the story, so I end up with some inconsistencies with the details. For example, I might mention that a character was wearing a certain piece of jewelry, then end up deleting that paragraph, and so it might be strange when, a few paragraphs later, the character happens to take off the jewelry which isn't supposed to exist anymore.

monday said...

heheh. me 2

Noelle said...

Is it possible to be both a wit and fulgar? This just occurred to me and it's going to bother me.

Sam Hranac said...

I'm not sure, but it is possible to be a half-wit and vulgar.

D.M. Cornish said...

Ahh, mr hranac you slay me every time!

Sam Hranac said...

it is a thing I know from personal experience.