August 7th, 2006

View from study (sunny)

Effortful study

matociquala posted a link to a most interesting article here. holyoutlaw seems to have hit the nail on the head. Just practising, without actually reflecting on what you're doing and without pushing yourself to try something just a bit more difficult is not going to lead to improvement. All you'll end up with is a heap of stuff all of the same quality.

There's a saying often bandied about which goes: "you have to write a million words of crap". This is assumed to be a sort of apprenticeship, after which you'll just naturally start writing good stuff. But I've always been a bit wary of it. Firstly some people just don't seem to need to write a whole load of bad stuff before they start producing excellent stories. Admittedly they tend to be the people who came to writing later in life and must somehow have internalised the necessary skills in other ways. But also some people just seem stuck on one level and however many words they write, the quality just doesn't seem to improve. All they end up doing is embarking on their second million words of crap.
View from study (sunny)

Writing progress

There were some words the other day, though possibly I already mentioned those. They weren't story words, but were just handwritten notes on the next couple of scenes for Revealing Secrets.

The most "interesting" development is that now I'm getting to know my protag a bit better, I discover that she wants to be black. I am still rather boggled about this, but I'm going with it for the moment, until I see how it works out. Black Bethany from Splott in Cardiff, whose grandfathers worked in the docks and the steel works, whose dad also worked in the steel works and whose mum is a cleaner, but whose parents were keen that she should get an education and be fluent in Welsh so she could "better herself" has come to life whereas white Bethany, vaguely from somewhere in South Wales had not.

It also means that this novel is turning out more thematically complex than I thought. And Tal's taste in women becomes rather interesting. He just does not go for the ordinary at all. *g*

In other news, I have moved quite a bit of stuff out of my study prior to stripping the wallpaper and repainting. I had hoped to do this without messing up the sitting-room cum guest room, but I've had to dump the stuff in there. Also I think I've killed the shredder by working it to death this morning. I was clearing some pockets in the filing cabinet so I could file stuff that had been hanging around in the study. I'll try it again tomorrow, but if it's still dead, I'll need to buy a new one.

Time now to go and get dinner. I have it from the grapevine via our daughter A (who lives in Cardiff, but still knows more local gossip than I do!) that the Chinese takeaway in town has changed hands. We've not had Chinese for ages because the quality had really gone down hill, but apparently the new owners produce decent food, so tonight we are venturing to try it again.