So, the process of planing and sandpapering Firebrand into shape is ongoing, and it’s making me think about how much easier writing was when I had no clue at all what I was doing.

I mean, when I started out it was just a matter of getting some words on a page. What do the characters do? Okay, write that down. Sorted. You pile the words up and there they are. No worrying about structure, or pacing, or imagery, or whether having two characters in the same book who are short gruff brunettes will be needlessly confusing for people and it might be an idea if one of them was a tall gruff brunette instead and the other one’s hair turned mouse-coloured.

I can remember when I wasn’t bothered about keeping track of when the viewpoint shifted. I can remember the exact point when writing sex scenes got complicated, because it was right around the time I started having sex. And if I come back and read this post in a few years’ time, I’ll bet there are several things about the books I’m writing now that make me cover my eyes on a re-read and think ‘why didn’t I see what was wrong there and fix it?’

Writing: the more you do of it, the more complicated it starts looking. It’s like you start out building what you think is an heaped-earth pyramid, and the next thing you know you’re the architect in charge of some large civic building that’s mostly made of glass.

And also, you’re responsible for making sure the civic building’s lifts run on time and keeping the loos unblocked.

In other news, WordPress keeps suggesting new tags to me whenever I publish a post. Generally they’re inappropriate but I can sort of see where WordPress is coming from – ‘first draft’, for example, got a suggestion of ‘baseball’ – but there’s a substantial minority population of ‘Really, WordPress, you’re just guessing, aren’t you?’ such as ‘vacation’ or ‘beauty’. I’m now wondering whether it’s going to pick up on ‘pyramid’ and suggest ‘earth mysteries’ or on ‘unblocked loo’ and suggest God knows what.

EDITED TO ADD: I’ve now seen their suggestions, and they were: the ever-hopeful ‘vacation’ and ‘travel’ (WordPress, I am not going to blog about my holidays. I very seldom go on holiday, due to my default response to any suggested holiday being ‘But I couldn’t possibly leave the cats’), the perfectly serviceable ‘literature’ and ‘writing’, and the completely inapposite ‘gaming’ and ‘anime’. If you have any suggestion for what prompted those I’d love to hear it: my best guess is that anime often involves short gruff brunettes.

4 thoughts on “Writing

  1. I totally agree. The more I write, the harder it gets and the less confidence I have in my ability to do it. I still don’t much care about POV, but I know my editor does, so I worry about that. And I panic every time I use an adverb. And so on.

    1. I often wish I didn’t get that ‘dropped out of the story by sudden POV shift’ feeling, because I know it spoils some books for me that I’d otherwise enjoy a lot. Unfortunately, now that I’ve started noticing it I can’t stop. I’ve never had POV whiplash while reading your books, if it helps.

      I only worry about adverbs if they start coming in clumps. Sometimes they do act a bit like architectural goop covering a wall that’s not too stable in the first place, but I think that a lot of the time people who complain about them existing at all are assuming that their own personal taste is objective judgment.

  2. My sentences are too long. I tell rather than show too much (but that’s not always terrible: I don’t want to turn into James Patterson frex). My sentence structure belongs in the Moyens Ages.

    Bizarrely, freakishly, I think I am getting better both at writing dialogue and knowing when the subjective decision that dialogue isn’t the right answer is correct.

    It’s easiest if I go back and edit it quickly, though. OTOH I’m not writing anything I expect anyone else to read, such the niche market that it is.

    I’m sure when I regain the confidence to write my own characters rather than stealing the copyright from God I’ll be as useless as I always was!

    1. My natural writing style appears to be the paragraph-long sentence, partitioned with semicolons as needed. I have to go back through after I’ve finished writing and cut them up into more sensible-sized chunks.

      Also, ‘stealing the copyright from God’ is a brilliant phrase.

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