Saturday, October 06, 2007

Telling Right From Wrong (Part 12)

Time To Pull Out All The Stops

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Okay, so my mailbox is filling up and it’s time to start clearing the backlog from other writers, even as I get into the closing chapters of my second novel, Muskoka Maharani.

Gene Bach got in touch and made this observation about his process:

"I don't usually run into a road block when I'm writing a story. When it comes time to rewrite it and fix the mistakes, well, that's a whole 'nother ball game."

You're lucky, Gene. There is always one part of the process that is slower than the other. Every writer has to self-edit at some stage, so you're on the right track. Which would you rather be - a fast writer who is a slow editor, or a really slow writer who edits quickly? I'd go for the first option every time.

Eve Nielsen, whose prodigious output while writing her book leaves me open-mouthed with admiration, said:

"It's amazing to me how writing anything reveals so much about yourself (the author)."

Aye, Eve. Whether we like it or not, writing is a window to our soul. Doesn't matter if it's a short story, a long essay, a doctoral thesis or a full-length book. It's like opening a direct-access pathway to the way our mind works. The best writing is that which reflects our soul. Ergo, the best writing, in turn, must reveal that soul to the readers.

Nessa thanked me for my advice about getting started and said:

"I often have a hard time starting because I want the first draft to be perfect. I've found it helps to just get the idea on paper (screen) not worrying about any of the "rules" and then going back and adjusting. This often works very well."

Yes, Nessa, I work in much the same way. I get into a groove and just keep writing. I only edit my novels when I've completed them. I guess that way it's a lot easier to see what can be improved, what can be cut out, what can be explained better and what needs to be explained in greater detail.

9 comments:

Pijush said...

Hi David,

Great tips. It will help many of us.
My weekend wandering answer is ready now :-)

Cheers,
Pijush

simon said...

what is it like to write a novel? I have often thought to give it a go...

Lapa said...

TOP PORTUGUESE UNIVERSAL WRITER: CRISTOVAO DE AGUIAR

(PASSANGER IN TRANSIT)

BOOKS:

“PASAGEIRO EM TRÂNSITO” ; “RAIZ COMOVIDA”; “RELAÇÃO DE
BORDO”; “MARILHA”; “A TABUADA DO TEMPO”; BRAÇO TATUADO”; “MIGUEL TORGA O LAVRADOR DAS LETRAS”

He has, also, translated into Portuguese the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.

He has been awarded several prizes.

Don't forget the name of this great author, you'll be hearing of him soon.

Thank you for spending time in Universal Culture.

Thanks for visiting.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Pijush,

G;ad the tips were useful. Will check out your weekend wandering post shortly.

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Simon,

It;s an amazing experience. I can certainly tell you that you have the style skills and the construction skills.

No doubt about that....

Let me know the specific queries and I'll answer them.

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Lapa,

Thank you. I'll monitor his progress.

Cheers

David

Jeni said...

I get these snippets of "ideas" that race through my mind but never hang around long enough to give me enough insight to form plot, characters -anything! Got a quick-cure for that?

Les Becker said...

I wonder if I could gather together all the bits and pieces and scraps of paper and matchbook covers and blips and mishmash and publish them in some anthology entitled, "The Unfinished Business".

I can't seem to stick to one project long enough to finish it. Sigh...*

Eve said...

Hey David! Just got back from a 2 week trip. Haven't got to blog land yet, other than a quick visit here and there.

I dabbled in poetry while I was away. It's a great way to work through a brain cramp. I'll be posting some of my efforts soon. :)