Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Doc! I've got a serious problem. It's with my writing see... I... well... there's several things really.

In order to overcome our weaknesses, our shortsighted endeavours and our verbosity, we need to face them and learn to overcome them. It's a shame I have so much trouble in that regard.

So, let me stand up and say, for the record and the group, I am an alcoholic... er- anti-brevite. I can't help myself. I seem to write only for me, and I get lost in the scene. Maybe I should break it down so that we can all see just how superficial my writing is:
  1. Pretty plates

    Here's a term pointed to by Solvejg regarding Exposition. In my case I laden my magnificent castle of a plate, with all its shimmering shell-like adornments, raised parapets, and hanging balustrades, the glazed windows overlooking the table edge and the conical towers that point skyward like spears, with a bean. One, single, bean. And that's my plot. A bean.

    Personally... I blame Solvey ;) No, it's half-an-half. I needed to learn to write beautiful descriptions. It's just that I now need to let it go and use it sparingly. I suppose I'm always too busy writing for myself - I fail to see that I will be returning to these particular locations again, and because of the way I've filled out the first scene, there will be nothing left to describe. Of course, there's also the problem of no interaction between the character and location - this surely has to be my biggest sin.

    This eeks across to the literary quality of the piece (which prolongs reader pain, elicits confusion and closes the book). I have to, have to, have to throw away my pretensions of writing literary YA. There's a time and a place. It isn't now.

  2. Lack of character interaction

    I never give my characters enough to say. They pretty much serve the basic need of the scene and little more. We don't get a sense of character, we don't learn anything about the wider world/scenario, just what is going on at that particular moment - and this in spite of some character template generation.

  3. Stuck in the scene

    And yet, despite the above, I hang the entire scene on masses of pretentious description (it's not pretension when it leaves my brain, I assure you) because, specifically, there's not enough to fill the scene and last a good number of pages.
At the moment, my previous chapter looks like a fluke. I must concentrate to avoid my consternate.


solv said...

For some reason, this seems to be perhaps the hardest lesson for the would-be to learn. Maybe it's a fear of being obvious - of the writer thinking he needs to employ flowery prose in order to demonstrate his worth. I guess there's an ego thing in there somewhere.
The way out is to be even more clever! If we can make this stuff invisible - if we can hide it, or bury it at the subliminal level, or squeeze the essence from it, then the reader won't notice that we're there! (NB The reader doesn't give a monkey's about you or I I'm afraid.)

R1X said...

Bastards! This problem also arises from the age old show not tell! Don't it.

When they say show don't tell, they mean there are times and places. Gah!

solv said...

They are a bunch of ungrateful tossers aren't they.
Well, besides 'pretty plate', I'd like to introduce you to the idea of 'shouting at eels' which means 'to attempt to impart information to someone, but only getting a blank look in response' (and is similar to the concept of 'banging one's head against a brick wall').
You know, I still can't help myself either. I'm down to one flowery line per page now. Gotta kick the habit. MY NAME IS SOLV AND I AM AN ANTI-BREVITE TOO!

esruel said...

I'm the least brief of any writer, so I know what monsters can lurk inside your head.
You know, I don't think you need to be brief at the beginning. Artistically, any such anti-measures surely must curtail one's creativity. So I feel, anyway.
The answer, I think, is in the edit: deciding afterwards what works. After a while you begin to edit with more ease, because you are able to recognise what works.
No need to deflower (?) your work while you write. Just edit afterwards.
Patience is the key. Not as in 'don't worry, you'll get it right in 10 years', but 'give it more thought, that's all'.