I recently put an excerpt from my first published novel up a post on Belles and Beaus. It was interesting to look back and see how I was writing then and compare it to how I’m writing now. I have to admit I made all the common errors everyone talks about – repetition and overuse of words, etc etc, but in spite of it all I can see a directness I like in that early story (which was the longest of my four published titles).
Perhaps I’m now trying to hard. It’s a question that concerns me sometimes. In absorbing all these rules of how a writer needs to write to please editors and gain a contract, I may have lost that vital spark, that freshness that makes things leap off the page. Or maybe I’m deluding myself, and I never had it at all. That’s possible, too.
I read a post yesterday and planned to keep and comment on it. When I went back to read it again I found I’d deleted it along with all the other stuff that comes in everyday, so I cannot refresh my memory, or give credit to the author, which is a shame. The gist of the post was that a writer gives away a lot of his or her own personality in writing. I’ve heard this before, and I’m not sure I agree with the premise.
Surely a writer makes things up, uses her imagination, builds a story around characters which are usually (but not always) a mish-mash of people we know and characters we’ve read or seen on the screen with a dash of our originality thrown in? What makes a successful story-teller but the ability to blend traits we recognise with out-of-the-ordinary, heroic style deeds? To take and everyday situation and think What if, and take it from there, into realms the ordinary person in the street would never contemplate?If that is what fiction writing is about, where is the danger of revealing one’s own personality? More on that tomorrow.
And just in case you wondered, the starter was salmon...and it was delicious. But it has absolutely nothing at all to do with this post!