I was asked recently how I felt about writing having just finished a novel. I was asked whether I had lost focus? Whether getting the novel out meant I wasn’t focused on writing as much? The immediate answer was a no: why would I? Then puzzlement set in…
I’ve mentioned before that I quite like the redrafting/editting process. Taking a rather scrappy first draft and forging it into something worth reading is really satisfying, probably more so than finishing that very first draft. What I didn’t quite expect, though, is that in rebuilding some of the rubbish, simple changes cascade through and make quite quite profound changes.
It’s happened again: I’ve had to write the ending – the last scene or chapter – before I get there. Whilst I loosely plan out what’s needed, often rough out chapters and sections and use the Mythic Structure as an overall meta-structure, I occasionally write scenes out of sync with the rest of the flow. That’s fine – for me, it works. But I’m regularly writing the last scene way before I get there.
Monday was my graduation ceremony for the MA in Writing (Distinction) from Birmingham City University. I was in two minds about attending but was persuaded to go and, in the end, was pleased I did so. The graduation ceremony itself was a very fitting and emotional completion to a long, sometimes physically painful, but often interesting and enjoyable process.
I run Shipton Shorts, a local short story competition. It’s meant to encourage writing talent and expression in an area 10 miles around our village.* Because it’s meant for non-professionals and those exploring their talent, I put together a few hints & tips, a template and some guidelines in the rules that help presentation. However, after reading through a number of short stories recently I thought a more consolidated ‘how to’ handout might be appreciated.
… the perfect break. I’ve just come back from a short break down in Dartmoor. We go down there whenever we can, stay at the excellent Lydgate House Hotel (which I’d recommend) and walk and read. That’s walk lots with a little reading whilst we break, or walk a little then read for an hour or more surrounded by beautiful or inspirational scenery. This time, for me, it was as much inspiring as breathtaking.