Friday, January 25, 2008

What's a Writer?

Today I'm at home with my poor sick youngest. He's got a fine dose of 'flu - aches all over, temperature, sniffles. Luckily he doesn't have a sore throat... yet. There's a lot of it going around. When I went to pick him up from school last night, his teacher told me the class was decimated by the number of children off sick, and that my youngest had spent most of the afternoon resting. As he normally dashes around the place shouting and laughing, it shows he was definitely under the weather! I'm keeping him dosed up with Doliprane and hope that does the trick!

After a good lie-in, he got up and I tucked him under a cosy furry blanket and put the tele on. Not wanting to leave him, I got out my book and tried to ignore the noises emanating from the screen.

At the moment I'm reading Sol Stein's (the master editor) "Solutions for Novelists". It was recommended to me by one of the girls on WriteWords as I keep running into POV (point of view) and show/tell issues. Apparently, reading Sol's book will help me sort this out. I'm already getting the idea, but it doesn't hurt to get some expert advice on the subject. Novel-writing is actually quite technical!

So far, he's told me I basically need to seduce the reader with the first paragraph/page/chapter so that s/he'll want to continue reading. Then I have to be courteous to the reader and not necessarily give him what he wants, but keep him guessing and thus keep him interested. So if a chapter finishes on a tense note, the next chapter shouldn't follow on from where the last ended, but start off somewhere else. (I hope you're taking notes...)

He also describes a writer as someone who cannot not write. So if your day is not complete without having done some writing, then you're a writer. Do you think blog-wittering counts? I find I have to let things mull in my head for a while before I can attack them. Editing my book is, of course, a nightmare and I can't do it every day, but I'm thinking about how I can go about the editing. Do you think that amounts to 'writing'?

When I was in the throes of writing the first draft of my book, I did find that any time I wasn't writing was just time waiting when I could write. I might have been at work, but in fact I was just at work waiting until I could get home and write. If there was a day I couldn't write, I really did get very frustrated and grumpy. The boys got a bit fed up with mummy writing all the time too...

Wonder if I'll catch my son's 'flu...

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