OR, the way I'd phrase it: there are many things you cannot change, but you CAN change your attitude to them..!
I wrote out a long post last night, but left it on my chair. It was 2500 words anyhow. I'd have to top up time twice in this internet café to bash in that much ...
I did another 500 words last night, introducing Gwendolina, that savage hellhound you may have read about in my side bar (said I'd put her in my book didn't I?~ and in she goes, confined to the kitchen for her usual bad behaviour, werewolf silhouette baying sorrowfully at the striplight through the frosted door). I also added a parrot who says "sort us out with a pipe, mate," and other crackhead phrases. I can only write what I know so it's drugs galore I'm afraid. Or rather, I'm writing about the theme of addiction. There are very few good books on this subject, fiction or non-fiction. And I am inspired to go on. So inspired in fact that once pen hits paper entire passages flow out ~ easier than a shopping list.
My one reservation is against writing anything that could be construed as "drug porn". This is a difficult one because to someone determined to find glamour in grunge nothing I say will ever disgust them. I just hope I manage to portray my situations in enough fullness that only a fool could ever say "I read your book and had to give heroin a try!"
I got out three how-to books from the library. Two on screenwriting, which I haven't the SLIGHTEST desire to get involved in because 1. I hate reading scripts and the thin dialogue and wouldn't want to write it (novel dialogue is quite different) 2. the novel is a far superior art form, playing as it does without constraints of time, technicians, cast or budget on the greatest stage of all ~ the theatre of the mind and 3. less than 300 films a year are made in Hollywood, let alone anywhere else in the English-speaking world ~ against several thousand new novels published so the chances of minimal success at least with a novel are greater. And 4. the writer is BOTTOM of the pack in Hollywood, has no creative control ~ will likely be asked to rewrite a perfecly good script over and over at the whim of the stars even if this weakens or destroys the storytelling and 5. how many famous screenwriters can YOU name?
Sorry I had to let off that particular burst steam. It's been building inside for some time...
So anyway I got these screenwriting books because I thought they might teach me something about structuring a story, which I'd say is one of my weaker points as a "writer". When I did one unit in Creative Writing: The Novel at university, our teacher, a Booker/etc nominated fictioneer of some renown told me she particularly liked my characterization and use of language. I couldn't have been more flattered. I write to the philosophy that "character is plot", but I know I have a lot to learn about particularly deft and clever plotting. So I flicked through these guides, both by successful Hollywood big and small screen writers. They phrase commonsense into technical-sounding jargon about "character triangles" and "protagonist-antagonist" ... etc. But it's all cowshite. Character triangles are just the situations you get in any story. People have varying feelings and play various roles in relation to one another. Of course. Our protagonist is our main character. The antagonist is the somebody who stands in his or her way, opposes his or her desires, possibly manipulating him/her for his/her own ends. You get the gist.
In other words it's all stuff that comes naturally to us all, whether we call ourselves "novelists" or not!
The third book, This Year You Write Your Novel (ISBN 9780316065412) by Walter Mosley told me just what I needed to hear at just the right time ~ it's about how to turn a first draft of mush into a blindingly good published tale. And he is what I call a "successful" writer. Ie not just one who got into print, which seems to be the only credential the vast majority of "creative writing" teachers offer, but a renowned and respected author. Once I picked up the knack of scribbling out pages of fiction ~ and there is a very definite knack to it. It now comes easier than blogging or letter-writing or any other type of writing ~ and I mean on a page-by-page basis. I now can see the humungous error I was making was to convince myself that the inevitable baloonings, crossings-out and tinkerings with the text constituted rewriting. Which means in times past I never got beyond a rather polished first draft. The present second draft dispaches entire characters (e.g. the protagonist's mother), adds others and most importantly will hopefully tie together a whole lot of episodic scenes into a whizz-bang tale.
In previous years I used to tell myself: I'd rather write another book than rewrite this one ... yet somehow these follow-up books never came as easy as I told myself they ought to. And complacency set in. And drugs. And my whole life went tits-up anyhow.
So I'm rewriting and rewriting. Short and bittersweet. That's what I'm hoping for.
Better stop blabbering now. I've writing to do.
Illustrated ~ hellhounds; movie script (you're warned these are judged partly on the amount of WHITE SPACE which surely says it all); novel typescript (click on each if you want to read more closely); the Mosley book; Ugly Betty's sister Hilda: eyecandy...
Getting personal - I'm leading Zac's tonight. We've been studying the gospel of Luke and tonight we arrive at the Last Supper. I grew up attending an Anglican church - I was ...
5 hours ago