Friday, September 11, 2009



Have homed in on my favourite idea and now have a working title, a setting, 3 characters with names, agent approval and 1,000 words written.

Now what?

Steam ahead?


Develop characters?

Downloading the Scrivener application was a good break, getting to know how it works and plodding through the tutorial. Recommended to me by The Writing Coach, Scrivener is a writer's software app that lets you store everything in one place, including web pages & stills and - oh, it does all sorts of clever things. My favourite so far is the split screen which lets you have not only different documents up but the same document up. For example, at the moment with my character profiles I'm cutting and pasting from all over the place onto one document but can reference it from two different places at the same time when I make corrections. ? Sorry if not sounding very clear, but it's very useful! They give you a free month's trial which only adds up by the day, as you use it, so there's no panic. If you write using a Mac, have a look.

Then I went to the library and got out a pile of How To books to have a look at their plotting advice. I've always written into a story before, finding it as I go. This time am quite keen to experiment with my style, going into the first person and having several different viewpoints. I'm also determined to go for a better first draft than I normally produce, shortening the daily wordcount to 500 maybe but making them 500 good words rather than 2000 of steam that needs severe editing later. Really severe editing later. I don't think I can bear to do that again.

At the moment am on Novel Writing, 16 Steps to Success by Evan Marshall, one of the better of the How To books I've come across, and Ted Hughes' Poetry in the Making - for children, and about poetry, so not much plotting advice but FAB.

'The one thing is, imagine what you are writing about. See it and live it. Do not think it up laboriously as if you were working out mental arithmetic. Just look at it, touch it, smell it, listen to it, turn yourself into it. When you do this, the words look after themselves, like magic. If you do this you do not have to bother about commas or full-stops or that sort of thing. You do not look at the words either. You keep your eyes, your ears, your nose, your taste, your touch, your whole being on the thing you are turning into words. The minute you flinch, and take your mind off this thing, and begin to look at the words and worry about them... then your worry goes into them and they set about killing each other. So you keep going as long as you can, then look back and see what you have written. After a bit of practice, and after telling yourself a few times that you do not care how other people have written about this thing, this is the way you find it; and after telling yourself you are going to use any old word that comes into your head so long as it seems right at the moment of writing it down, you will surprise yourself. You will read back through what you have written and you will get a shock. You will have captured a spirit, a creature.' Ted Hughes, Poetry in the Making, Faber 1967

Hmm, maybe I'll just dive in after all...

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.


Mya said...

Thanks for that wonderful bit of Ted Hughes advice. It's JUST what I need at the moment.Sometimes it really helps to be reminded how writing can actually be quite simple...if we just let it.
Best of luck with the new idea!
Mya x

Kate said...

Just wanted to say good luck with it!

Kate x

Debi said...

Hope you enjoy the process - and that the time comes when we can discuss it face to face.

Amanda Mann said...

Thanks! The Ted Hughes book is wonderful, Mya, I'm going to get my own copy. Debi, so sorry to miss you & hope & trust there'll be another London blogmeet before too long.

SDJ said...

I was struggling with a story once, and a friend suggested looking at it as a screenplay. I worked on it using Syd Field's Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting and The Screenwriter's Workbook. His dissection of Four Screenplays was very helpful. Robert McKee is also very highly rated, of course (Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting). I also found Joe Campbell's The Hero's Journey a huge help in figuring out characters and their roles. It helped me 'find the story' and I finished a draft of the screenplay.
Of course, it went where most screenplays go to die...