Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Chapter 7 and the invisible reader

It's been a productive day, though I was distracted when I ran out of teabags. I managed to knit chapters five and six onto the earlier bits and now have started chapter 7. I feel the need for less sitting around drinking tea and chatting and more action, so I might scrap today's words and rewrite as something bigger. The bad character is closing in, but I want to work on it. I wish I could just plan!

Thanks to recommendations I received from another blogger I picked up a copy of Between the Lines by Jessica Page Morrell, and the first thing I noticed is that it's a book that speaks to the female fiction writer, which really suits me. A lot of the time, books brimming with ideas are actually aimed at producing a male style of fiction that I neither write nor, very often read. So I recommend it if you are trying to write subtle, rich prose rather than a bodice ripper or a crime thriller. She also recommends Brian Kitely, and I look forward to exploring his writing exercises after my assignment bottleneck has passed.

One things I'm benefiting from at the moment is the input of fellow students who are willing to exchange work for editing/critiquing. I'm finding this incredibly helpful, and even if I (and they) don't agree with every suggestion (which is all they are) we are getting rare insights into how the reader receives the work. It's no good me thinking I'm come up with something really clever if the reader doesn't get it! I've always though that art, any art, is empty without the viewer. A picture on a wall is nothing, but when someone looks at it, it becomes something to that viewer. I think writing is like that, my ideas, my story acting itself out in my head, gets approximately and thinly translated into black and white marks on the screen or page, then someone else with a rich and varied imagination uses those words as a starting point to create their own story. If their story relates to mine, great. More importantly, does their story progress, is it satisfying for them? Ultimately, I write stories because I want to know what happens to the characters. Editing and rewriting gives me a chance to share that story with someone else, bringing it to life as a piece of fiction rather than an elaborate daydream. So, thank you ladies, I appreciate your help enormously.

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