Sunday, 16 March 2008

Tinkering and tweaking

I am holed up in my office-cave today, wrestling with the page proofs of Over You. I've realised that I've got characters called Nell and Mel, as well as Mr and Mrs Bell - oh, and two minor characters called Jake. Oh dear. Really should have spotted that earlier as at this stage it's pricey to change anything.

I am almost certainly my own harshest critic (I seriously hope nobody else is going to be any harsher) but I am struggling to get the balance right with my heroine in certain sections of the book, too. Okay, so something unthinkably bad happens to her so she's not exactly going to be skipping about tra-la-la full of the joys of life, but I've read these pages so many times now that my sympathy has evaporated and I find myself thinking, Oh God, pull yourself together and stop crying, woman! Which I am a bit worried about. So I am trying to lift those miserable paragraphs a bit where I can, and put in some feistier characterisation but... at this stage you are not supposed to be rewriting the blooming thing, just correcting any typos. Sigh...

I guess no author is ever one hundred percent happy with a book - I could certainly go on tinkering and tweaking this text for months yet. But I've got to email off all my comments today so a line must be drawn!

8 comments:

Pacha said...

Good luck. This is such an interesting intriguing post. How different would the same novel be written at different moments of our lives.

Well, this is how I read your post anyway. I have spent 3 years re-writing the same novel and I swear everytime I re-write it it becomes a different novel based on how I change/get depressed/am on a high etc.

*sigh* I don't understand myself so I won't pretend to think that you will but will post this jumbled comment nonetheless to give you encouragement!

Cal said...

I can relate to the crying character thing! When I read through my first draft of HoWG I couldn't BELIEVE how many times my character burst into tears or had tears dribbling down her cheeks or on the verge of tears. It's was incredible. And awful! At first I felt bad pruning out all the crying references because I though it would make my character seem really hard hearted but reading it through now it doesn't (or at least I hope it doesn't!)

I find writing emotional scenes can be so much fun and you get so into in you can get really carried away. You just need to prune it back a bit. Only you will know if you you need to cut or not. But are you sure you're not thinking "pull yourself together" about the main character because you've read your book so many times and are a bit sick of it?

I'm sure it's brilliant and I can't wait to read it :o)

Lucy Diamond said...

Pacha - yes, you are spot on. If I started writing this novel again today, it would be very different, I think. I would definitely start it in a different place. I am glad you understand - and thanks for the encouragement!

Cal - yes, my character has so many instances of tears rushing to eyes, wiping eyes, crying into pillow etc...! Gawd. I've toughened her up a bit now though. (Or maybe I should put back in the tears, and try and get some sponsorship from Kleenex?!)

mjmoore said...

It's so interesting, as a reader, to learn about the processes a writer goes through.

As a reader, and not a writer, all I say is Good Luck!

Lucy Diamond said...

Thank you! Much appreciated.

Sue Hepworth said...

I know how you feel, but take heart - A work of art is never finished, only abandoned. (was it Oscar Wilde who said that?)

Lucy Diamond said...

Sue - absolutely! That made me laugh. Well, I've abandoned mine now...that's it now until publication!
PS Am very much enjoying ZP btw!

Sue Hepworth said...

Phew!