follow a rookie writing his first novel

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

how fast do you write

I heard this week that Enid Blyton wrote 37novels per year – yes that’s thirty seven novels per year! At the rate I’m going I’ll be lucky to manage one novel in 37 years. I can’t imagine how fast you have to work to match Enid’s output. What about you? How fast is your writing?


Action revisited

Some time ago I posted upon the problem of how to represent a fast paced action scene with several participants. As I tried to write one myself,  I felt torn between enough description of what each participant was doing against attempting to give the illusion that each participant was doing their thing simultaneously. The longer the description, the more laboured seemed the action and it also became more sequential rather than actions in parallel to each other. In the end, I just wrote the scene down with a note to myself to rewrite it in the second draft.

This week though I came across a passage from a novel that might just be the answer. The novel in question was ‘The troublesome offspring of cardinal Guzman’ by Louis de Bernieres. He was describing a scene where a small village was putting on a show for visiting dignitaries, which soon descends into chaos.  The technique he uses seems to be to set the general scene (a carnival) and at the same time just mentioning the characters in a superficial way that will later become important.

Next he describes what each of these characters is doing.  Because we have already been introduced to the characters (albeit briefly), this part just gives their names and a sentence or two on their actions.

Next we revisit each character, but this time the sentences are shorter. This is repeated a third time with even shorter single sentences.

The overall effect is that we both feel the actions are being carried out simultaneously and that the action is speeding up – voila!

I’m going to try to put this method to use for my scene and see how it goes.  Have you tried anything similar?


Nothing to declare

Well, that’s another week gone and very little to declare as far as the writing goes. To be fair, I have been teaching this weekend, so prep had to be done, but even so I am a little bit disappointed. I haven’t even read very much this week either – where has the time gone? I’m finding as I get older, time goes faster. My theory is that it’s down to the proportion of your life that a time period is; at this rate by the time I am 80 a week will be but a blink of an eye- scary!


Musing on motivation

I’ve always been a little envious of people who know exactly what they want to do and seem to pursue it with a laser like intensity. I’m afraid though that I’m just not wired that way. In fact, I can’t remember anything that I’ve been so bowled over by that I couldn’t think of doing anything else (well, nothing anyone would pay me for).

Writing for me is no different. I read from people that they couldn’t imagine a life without writing, or that they feel as if something is missing if they don’t. Me, I quite enjoy it once I get into it, but equally, if I don’t write for some time I don’t feel unfulfilled. I think I’ve said before that I always want to write the most when it isn’t possible and when it is, everything else seems more attractive a proposition.

So, why write at all, you ask. It’s a fair question. Short answer is, I don’t really know. Partly it’s because I can, partly its a self-imposed challenge to see if I can manage a full length novel and partly it has something to do with leaving a trace of myself behind, after I’ve gone.

Making a pile of money would be nice too, especially if I could do this without the accompanying fame. So, why exactly do you write and what do you get out of it?


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