Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Revisionist History

Finally, a post about writing! Truth be told, I've been taking it easy on the writing front. My office morphed into the guest room over Christmas, and while I'd love to be one of those writers who can write anywhere... I'm not. After the 24 Hours London launch and finishing Novel Number 5, it was good to have some much needed downtime.

But now the new year is here, and I'm raring to go. Nipping at the heels of my consciousness over the past few weeks were all the changes I wanted to make to Novel Number 4, which I finished last May/June. I'd sent it off to the Romantic Novelists' Association to be read by one of their members, as part of the New Writers' Scheme. (If you're in the UK and you write romance - or anything that has some kind of romance in it - I strongly suggest you join. Membership fees for the scheme are only £90 and you get a free reading in the mix).

A month or so later, I received my manuscript back in post along with a detailed five-page critique full of extremely useful and valuable feedback, presented in a forthright and encouraging way. You never learn the name of the reader, but whoever took the time to digest my MS and write the response -- thank you! (I must add that the reader you get may be down to the luck of the draw, since another writer I know did not have the feedback presented in a very constructive manner).

I had other things on my mind at the time (like getting married that week), so I put the feedback aside with plans to come back to it at a later date. Letting the novel rest for awhile is something I always like to do; I find that when I do return to it I can see its faults much better. Having read through the novel several times last week, I had loads of new ideas for improvement. And on Monday, I started putting them into action!

This time, I'm putting the emphasis on having fun. In the past, I've been much too time conscious, trying to finish the novel so I could move on to the next project. With Novel Number 4, I really feel the 'big idea' is there; now, it's a matter of getting everything else right.

Who knows, this one may end up dusty and yellowed, too. But hey, I'm enjoying the process for once!


Yunaleska said...

I think its good you're enjoying the process. Although writing can be frustrating, its important to remember the joys of writing (just don't mention that to anyone hammering at clunky sentences), because it is, most of the time, fun.

Christine Coleman said...

I like your approach to novel-writing Marsha - especially the determination to have fun!
I totally agree about the value of letting the work 'rest' for a while - I always find that time is the best critic.

I have two adult 'children' (and a neice) who've moved to London, and I'll forward them the link to your book - it sounds pretty useful.

If you are interested in other writers struggle to get published and what happens after that hurdle has been jumped, you can visit my blog, Writing Matters by clicking here.

Marsha Moore said...

Thanks, Christine! I'm going to add you to my Google Reader so I can continue to follow your blog. Love your 'Paper Lanterns' bookcover, btw.

And thanks for recommending my book to your family! :)