Wednesday, 17 February 2010

At the 30,000 word mark and still no poetry

OK, now I'm really having fun. My characters are much clearer now - and the Emma I wrote in the first two chapters is going to have to be substantially rewritten at the editing stage but she's really unfurling now. I'm enjoying the genealogy bit as well, though I now have a huge family tree open on the desk and have to keep adding dates and names to it. I'm working to 1000 words a day first draft or 600 words rewrite, but in reality I'm nailing 2000 words of first draft a day. My husband has already commissioned the screenplay and cast the major roles. Colin Firth is my first choice for any role, of course, including Emma. If he wants to dive into a pond at any point that would also be possible.

Meanwhile, the poetry is coming in fits and starts. I'm frozen with indecision at the final editing phase. I don't have problems getting good initial material, nor now forming reasonable poems but pruning it is still a challenge. Who knows if I've cut out the only interesting bits? I'm drawn to Sharon Olds poetry, but my tutor wants very sparse stuff. I love Douglas Dunn's Elegy, Kathy France, loads of new people. My husband treated me to the anthology of women poets by Bloodaxe - wow! I feel a bit like a small child with a crayon at this point. I feel like a fraud, in fact. I've been studying this for six months now, which I realise is ludicrously too short a time to develop a whole new art form! I think I'm going to have to let go of any preconceptions, write three poems all a bit different, and hope for the best.

I'm a novelist, really, long fiction is my thing! Maybe the odd short story... People think you're being so pretentious when you write novels but haven't had any published. You know it's just you (and maybe the odd doting relative or lover or child), who has any faith in the protracted process. But the only way to get published is to write a finished, polished book, so I just have to keep them coming. On the plus side, they are getting better paced (always a problem, if I have a dull day the book suffers). I have a good solid beginning, reasonable ending and vague map of how to get from one to the other (at least for the principals). This is progress!

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