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Back from holiday

2 June, 2012

Previously on TRG: I went on holiday to Cornwall to visit friends, including my writing partner. 10 hours each way on the coach.

C is my writing partner, and aswell as discussing the current WIP (the novel I am working on which will also become a joint TV drama project) and the next WIP after that (another joint TV drama) we spent a lot of time discussing Writing Theory. We talked about the importance of strong and consistent character, and the fact that a character will not be pushed into unrealistic actions. Often when I am struggling with a scene, this is the reason – I have in mind where I wish the action to go, but the characters have other ideas. The only ways round this are to let the characters lead, or to rethink how they are going to get to the point I am heading towards. Either way requires rebuilding of the plot, but this rebuild is necessary for realism.

We also considered plot structure, and when/how to reveal. Chekhov’s Gun theory (“One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it”) says that we shouldn’t introduce aspects so late on as to seem like afterthoughts and a way of escape, but also we have to be cautious not to signpost too early and too obviously.

There were 0ther discussions on how much visual description of a scene to use in prose, and how much to allow the reader to infer. And where possible, it is best for any description to be done as part of the action, not as a cold list of attributes of the location.

I have often thought that I should have gone to University to study English, or should do now (I left school at 16, but did go back to do Alevel English lang/lit in Adult Ed later). During these conversations though, I realised that I have formed theories myself from reading, writing, TV, cinema and I already know much of what makes good writing. I don’t have letters after my name but I can have complex discussions with C (an English graduate, teacher, and the most widely-read person I know) and not be out of my depth.

So in theory, with this realisation fresh in my mind, and a suggestion from C as to how to rework a scene I was struggling with, I should have come home and started the huge amount of work I have in my mental  In-Tray, and which I was considering for most of the ten hours on the coach coming home. But it didn’t take more than an hour of being home for me to return to my standard lack of self-confidence and self-belief. I have to learn to focus on the fact that I KNOW I am a good writer, that people whose literary opinion I respect have told me so, and to overcome the deep-rooted feeling that I will never make a living at this. I am in the middle of a rewrite which is hard work, and I am having to scrap scenes which I know are good. My inner critic tells me that whatever I replace it with will be inferior, and that I am ruining the whole thing, but I must prove myself wrong. And the only way to do this is to sit down and write. The ideas will come, i just need to believe.

PS, while away I got a couple of messages on FB from Girl At Work, along the lines of “have a good time” and with kisses. See, she does think of me, but I’m still tagging this post “no chance” 🙂

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From → My Head, Writing

One Comment
  1. Your second paragraph is particularly interesting.

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