Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Writing progress

No actual progress, though partly thanks to green_knight's comments on the fragment I posted the day before yesterday, I realised that:

a) I haven't found the voice yet for this novel and the scene was very blah, partly because I was working with stuff originally written 6 years ago.
b) Huw just doesn't really do anything in this scene.
c) Changing the POV from Mark to Huw was a big mistake. Mark is the active one in this skirmish, so despite him not having a clue as to what is going on, he gets the POV back.

In fact I began to feel rather despondent about the whole thing. Perhaps Moving a Mountain was a fluke? Perhaps I'll never write anything decent again? green_knight mentioned that the snippets I'd posted of Moving a Mountain as I wrote it were much more assured, even the first draft.

But then I thought about it for a bit and then checked the spreadsheet and worked out that I had been writing MAM for 4-5 months before I posted anything to LJ. The opening pages had been re-written several times, so I didn't get the voice right away there either. This cheered me up again.

I had another moment of enlightenment this evening watching a TV programme in memory of Sir Kyffin Williams, a Welsh painter who died today at the age of 88. I have a great fondness for Sir Kyffin, at least partly because he doesn't hold with the idea of Inborn Talent. He himself only became a painter because he was an epileptic and in his youth was advised to take up painting for the good of his health.

The programme showed him working on a painting, sketching out the outlines of rocks and sea with a big paintbrush. It all looked very rough and, to be honest, not very promising. It was the sort of scruffy outline that I could have done myself. He took a cloth soaked in some kind of solvent and scrubbed at parts of it. It still looked a mess. And then they dissolved to the finished painting and it was stunning.

And I realised that that's how I write. I get down a messy sketch of what happens, of who does what to whom, of who says what, along with an approximate description of the surroundings. And then I work on it and work on it. In addition to the two full revision passes, every time I re-read, I will tweak a bit. It often doesn't take much: changing a verb here, chopping a long and convoluted sentence into two more concise ones there. finally, as I get further into the novel, the prose becomes more assured from the start, but the beginnings are a big soggy mess for quite a while and beginnings are the parts that are re-written most.
Tags: a necessary evil, writing progress, writing reflection

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