Friday, 26 April 2013

Working like a writing ninja

I seem to have two speeds. One is flat out writing ninja, editing twenty thousand words a day, hair on fire kind of speed. The other is writing tortoise, dead slow, cutting then restoring snippets, fussing over tiny research details that I got right the first time, endlessly checking tiny details like formatting of chapter headings (which will get done at a later date anyway). On Tuesday evening we had a family emergency and I went from writing ninja to tortoise in seconds. Wednesday I had time set aside to work but it was like dancing in glue, blindfolded. Thursday I could have easily worked for a few hours but no, glue-dancing tortoise again. Today I woke up early, threw myself at the computer and edited twenty-two thousand words with deft efficiency, cutting out about three thousand saggy middle words as I went. Go figure, I certainly can't make myself do it, it just happens. This makes time management very difficult.

Other stuff is happening too. Silly things like my new bed arriving next Thursday, to go with the posh, newly en-suited, plastered and decorated bedroom. The garden is full of plants throwing flowers up and the birds are behaving in an unseemly manner all over the garden then singing about it. I even caught the squirrels making baby squirrels this morning. It's quite difficult to throw my imagination back four hundred years and write about a frosty night in March 1587...

I have also managed to enjoy an intriguing book that almost, but didn't quite, keep me riveted. Amity and Sorrow by Peggy Riley was clever, full of interesting characters and well written.
The premise caught me straight away, a story of a woman escaping from a polygamous cult when she realises her "husband" is abusing her daughter. The daughters, Amity and Sorrow are well drawn, and the mother Amaranth is well written and engaging. But bits of the story weren't as well realised as I had hoped, and the book could have been longer to follow Amity's progression as well as Sorrow's. There's little movement in either the historical story of life in the cult, nor of the present day post-cult. But I'm nitpicking, it's a very entertaining read, just not a great one.      

6 comments:

  1. I love picturing you as a ninja! BTW you must promote the Mslexia prize. Do it! as we say in our house.

    BL,

    N

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    1. Thanks Nik, I will go on and on about the competition regularly, as I have done, because I think it's important. In between being a ninja, of course, but then I think of you as a writing ninja too!

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  2. Hi - think you'll be interested... Tony

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/17c7738c-ad44-11e2-b27f-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=crm/email/2013427/nbe/ArtsLeisure/product#axzz2Reu5E7JM

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    1. Thank you Tony, that was amazing! I've posted it on facebook as well, an amazing article and what a coup for the PEN organisers!

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  3. It happens to me too. If I'm lucky enough to get in the zone, I become a master of words and pages fly of decent, engaging prose. Then there are days I can hardly find what to write on my facebook status... So annoying!

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    1. Georgina, wouldn't it be nice to be able to switch it on and off!

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