Saturday, 27 February 2010

TMA03 off and 44,000 words!

What a busy, and productive week! Having spent literally seven months studying poetry and working towards the TMA, in the end one poem was written a week ago and another one reworked from months ago. I'm hugely enjoying writing poetry but it's so time consuming! In the time it would take to write 20 poems to reasonable standard I could have got the first draft and probably the first rewrite of a whole novel. Scary amounts of work. I only had to hand in 40 lines, I started out with over 90 and they edited down to exactly 40 - so much thrown away. The freewrites they came from were even more, thousands of words, and I ended up with hundreds. A fiction rewrite is a bit of a trim, maybe a new style, re-working and re-phrasing, maybe a few cuts and a few new scenes. Poetry rewrites are shaving down to the skin. Maybe a small tattoo, but you know you'll remove that at the end. Just bare skin, naked, revealed. Maybe a scratch or too. Ouch.

I managed to put loads in the commentary because I learned loads. I actually understood why I did things, rather than fiction when you just sort of KNOW because you've read so much, written so many words. I must have written literally several millions of fiction words. And read many many times more.

However, things are changing. I have a pile of enjoyable but not-very-well-written books by the bed - and bad writing grates on my nerves. Poetry books also get read at night, although they are intense, you can't just run through them quickly, you have to savour them, read them out loud, maybe read them again. This course has changed me as a writer, and it certainly helped me kick off the shackles of doubt. If I spend an hour or two or three hours a day writing novel which NEVER get published, so be it. I'm enjoying it, and that's important. And writing more and reading better stuff is just improving my work.


  1. I just popped by to thank you for your kind words on my blog, and to say how sorry I am to hear of your sad loss xx

  2. Heard from a Dorset friend (e-mailing her reply from car on west coast of???) researching her second novel. Her first has a marketable local twist, with the odd end of chapters or elsewhere having sketches of Lyme Regis lamp-posts... French lieutenant's woman and all that. Makes it a natural for town's bookshops where I just checked it is displayed 'full-frontal' - tho'that place was failing to market selected books as having a local touch.