Friday, 27 August 2010

Then and Now...


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!

13 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Name?

Jen Black said...

Name of what?

Savanna Kougar said...

Who authored the post? You?

Shelby Morgan Summers said...

This is a great topic Lindsay, one I can relate to. Not long ago I browsed through some of my first attempts at writing and compared it to how I write now. Most of the time I was still pleased by what I read, more for the plot than the grammar, but it's an important process, to see and remind yourself how far you've come, and what mistakes you made, and to pat yourself on the back for growing.

Savanna Kougar said...

Sorry, Jen, I missed your name 'posted by' next to comments. I was just waking up.

May I suggest you tag your post with your name, and also sign your post with your name and add a link to your blog, etc. Makes it easier for readers, and all of us to find you.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Interesting topic, Jen.
I agree with Savanna - it might be handy to also put your name in slightly bigger format somewhere on your blog articles, plus your own links.

Jen Black said...

OK - I can see how my post would look sort of anonymous! I promise to do better in future. Trouble is I get so into the thing I'm writing I forget the practicalities. For anyone interested, my blog is at http://jenblackauthor.blogspot.com
Jen Black

Lindsay Townsend said...

That's great, Jen! It's always handy to put your links - a chance for folk to visit.

Savanna Kougar said...

Hi Jen, I've attempted to link to your post several times with the result that the server is always down.

I can connect with your personal blog. However, again, I can't access the Belles and Beaus blogspot.

Jen Black said...

I don't know what to suggest, but it is odd when you've got through twice before. Maybe Lindsay has an answer?

Lindsay Townsend said...

Hi Jen and Savanna. The Historical Belles and Beaus link is now on the Lindsay's Romantis blog sidebar among the More websites and Blogs. Hope you can use that link, Savanna, to 'see' Jen's fascinating piece.

Savanna Kougar said...

Jen, I found at the problem. Your link is incorrect.

Here's the correct addy:

http://historicalbellesandbeaus.blogspot.com/

Jen Black said...

I corrected it yesterday, Savanna! Surely it is correct now? Not that anyone will be noticing after all this time!